Checkered White Butterfly

(Pontia protodice)

Checkered White:

A black and white butterfly that can be seen throughout much of the United States and southern Canada, For some reason, this butterfly excludes the Pacific Northwest as part of its home range.

It is generally on the wing from spring to fall, and the year round in warmer climates.

This checkered butterfly frequents open spaces, parks and often visits home gardens.

It larvae feed on certain members of the mustard family, such as cabbage, turnip greens and mustard. It is attracted to both your vegetable and flower gardens.

Checkered white butterfly

The Checkered White is resident in most of the southern United States, but also colonizes northern states and occasionally parts of southern Canada.

It is most common in disturbed areas where its favored host plants occur. Cole crops are the favorite host plant for Checkered White Butterflies.

I grew up calling this butterfly,and for many gardeners, it is simply called a 'Cabbage Butterfly'.

Discription of the Checkered White Butterfly:

This little checkered butterfly is mostly white above, with black patches that generally form a checkered pattern

Size of this butterfly is 1 and 1/2 inches to 2 inches from wing tip to wing tip.


Open areas, including desert, plains, and disturbed areas. Virtually any disturbed dry open area such as vacant lots, railroads, airports, dry grassland, deserts and cities are potential areas of habitation (especially your gardens).

In addition, populations may sometimes be found in sparsely wooded areas, grasslands, and meadows in the prairie and parkland regions, usually in areas without heavy shade.

Though it may seem these species of butterfly inhabit a wide range of environments, they have been found to be absent from certain counties for many years at a time.[


The Checkered White has a darting flight pattern.

Males patrol in search of females. Sometimes great numbers of this butterfly are seen together.

checkered white larvae

Larvae and Host plants:

This Checkered Larvae feed on various members of the mustard family. Turnip greens, mustard, cabbage, and other Cole crops. Spider flower (Cleome) is also a larval host. Larvae are greenish, with yellow and gray stripes.

Favorite Nectar Flowers:

Aster (Aster), Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Centaury (Centaurium) and others.

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