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The cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae), originally a native of Europe, is now distributed practically all over the world and is found throughout the State.
The caterpillars feed on various plants belonging to the family Cruciferae, such as cabbages, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, radishes, broccoli, mustard, kale and turnips. Among ornamental plants that may be attacked are stock and wallflower. Various related weeds such as Shepherd's purse, wild mustard or char-lock, may also serve as larval food. Mignonette and the garden nasturtium, also may be attacked.
The butterflies are frequently seen flitting amongst, or hovering over, the blossoms of various plants where they obtain nectar ; this leads many people to believe that they are infesting these plants as well.
Eggs are laid singly, usually on the undersides of the outer leaves, which provide the main feed of the young caterpillars.
The pupa or chrysalis is attached by its tail to a silken pad; its body is supported by a fine, silken girdle around the middle. The pupa may he attached to the food-plant or to some nearby object, or even to debris on the ground. Two generations are known to occur in a year.