Orange tip: This butterfly is a delightful harbinger of spring. It over winters as a pupa on dead low growing vegetation near its favoured food plants. These are Lady’s smock – a pale pink flower of damp meadows and roadside verges or the white flowered weed, Garlic mustard, found in all sorts of disturbed ground. The males with their orange tips are conspicuous and travel long distances seeking out the females which do not have the orange tips but do have the same green-seeming network on the underside of the hind wings. When the butterflies roost, this green netted underwing provides excellent camouflage. Females will often be found near suitable egg laying sites where the food plants are relatively large, and in unshaded, isolated but sheltered sites. It has only one generation each year so the pupa formed in June will hibernate until the following spring.
John Ball Sean Pritchard Peter Bright