Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon on April 28th 2010.
(1/250th sec at f14. Approx 2.75x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Male underside. Taken at Stockbridge Down, Hants, on May 26th 2013.
(1/250th sec at f13. Approx 2.5x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Female. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on April 10th 2011.
(1/250th sec at f13. Approx 2.5x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Female underside. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on May 27th 2013.
(1/200th sec at f13. Approx 2.5x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Mating pair. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon., on May 5th 2012.
(1/200th sec at f13. Approx 2.25x lifesize. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 43 - 51 mm

The Orange-tip is a true sign of spring, as it is one of the first species seen that has not spent the winter as an adult. There is significant sexual dimorphism in this species. The male has the bright orange forewings tips that gives this butterfly its name. The orange tips are absent in the female and, as a result, the female is often mistaken for one of the other whites, especially the Green-veined White and Small White. Both sexes have an intricate underside pattern of green blotches formed by a combination of yellow and black scales. When at rest on a flowerhead of the foodplant this butterfly so well camouflaged that an adult resting just a few feet away can easily be missed.

This species is found throughout most of Britain and Ireland, having expanded its range in recent years.

It has a wide range of habitats which include country lanes, hedgerows, riverbanks, woodland margins and rides, and damp meadows. It will also turn up in gardens.

There is a single brood each year, with adults flying from the beginning of April, through May and into June. The pupa is the over-wintering stage.

The main larval foodplants are Cuckooflower and Garlic Mustard.

Adults take nectar from flowers such as Garlic Mustard, Cuckooflower and Bluebell.

The males spend a lot of time patrolling along hedgerows and damp woodland rides in search of females.

This species is of Least Concern on the UK list.


08-Jun-2018 : Barnwell Country Park, Northants (1m)
06-Jun-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1f)
03-Jun-2018 : Stockbridge Down, Hants (1m,1f)
02-Jun-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1m)
27-May-2018 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (1m)
27-May-2018 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (1m)
22-May-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2m)
20-May-2018 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (1m)
18-May-2018 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (6m)
17-May-2018 : Sandford Brake, Oxon (6m,1f)
15-May-2018 : Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (4m,1f)
15-May-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
14-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (12m,1f)
13-May-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (5m,1f)
13-May-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
09-May-2018 : Whelford Pools, Glos (1m,2f)
07-May-2018 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (10m)
07-May-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (2m,1f)
05-May-2018 : Cors y Llyn NNR, Powys (3m,1f)
05-May-2018 : Gilfach Farm, Powys (4m)
04-May-2018 : Cors y Llyn NNR, Powys (1m)
01-May-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
01-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (6m,1f)
26-Apr-2018 : Bagley Wood, Oxon (6m)
26-Apr-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
22-Apr-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (3m)
21-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
20-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (2m)
19-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
19-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1m)
18-Apr-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
18-Apr-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (5+m)

11-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
03-Jun-2017 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
21-May-2017 : Abingdon, Oxon (2m)
14-May-2017 : Whelford Pools, Glos (2m)
10-May-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m,1f)
07-May-2017 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1m)
07-May-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (6m,2f)
07-May-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
02-May-2017 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (3m,1f)
02-May-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (4m,1f)
02-May-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
01-May-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2m)
30-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m,1f)
22-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m,1f)
22-Apr-2017 : Bagley Wood, Oxon (6m)
22-Apr-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
18-Apr-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m,1f)
18-Apr-2017 : Standlake Common, Oxon (2m)
18-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
15-Apr-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (4m)
13-Apr-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (6+m,1f)
11-Apr-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
09-Apr-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2m)
08-Apr-2017 : Northcourt Road, Abingdon, Oxon (2+)
08-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
06-Apr-2017 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1m)
02-Apr-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
30-Mar-2017 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1m)

07-Jun-2016 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
05-Jun-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (2m)
02-Jun-2016 : Lymington-Keyhaven NR, Hants (1f)
28-May-2016 : Wicken Wood, Bucks (1m)
22-May-2016 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1m)
22-May-2016 : Goring Railway Bridge, Oxon (3m,1f)
19-May-2016 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (5m,1f)
15-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
14-May-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (8+m,1f)
08-May-2016 : Whelford Pools, Glos (4m,1f)
08-May-2016 : Rodborough Common, Glos (3m)
07-May-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
06-May-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1m,1f)
05-May-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
05-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (8m,1f)
02-May-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
30-Apr-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (3m)
24-Apr-2016 : Bagley Wood, Oxon (3m)
20-Apr-2016 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1m)
17-Apr-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3m)
05-Apr-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)

07-Jun-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (3m)
07-Jun-2015 : Goring Railway Bridge, Oxon (1m)
04-Jun-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1m)
04-Jun-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1m)
23-May-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m,1f)
21-May-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (2m,1f)
17-May-2015 : Stockbridge Down, Hants (1m)
16-May-2015 : Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks (1m)
10-May-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (4+m)
09-May-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2m)
07-May-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1m)
04-May-2015 : Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (1m)
04-May-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (4+m)
03-May-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
27-Apr-2015 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1m)
27-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (6m)
25-Apr-2015 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (2m,1f)
23-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3m)
22-Apr-2015 : Burgess Field, Oxon (1)
22-Apr-2015 : Port Meadow, Oxford, Oxon (1)
21-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3m)
18-Apr-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (3m)
18-Apr-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1m)
15-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1)
15-Apr-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1)
14-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)

23-Jun-2014 : Sarnena River, Dospat, Bulgaria
01-Jun-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
01-Jun-2014 : Goring Railway Bridge, Oxon (1m,1f)
25-May-2014 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (2m)
25-May-2014 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1f)
25-May-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (2m)
18-May-2014 : Lardon Chase, Berks (2m)
18-May-2014 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (6m)
17-May-2014 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (3m)
17-May-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2m)
15-May-2014 : Burgess Field, Oxon (1m)
12-May-2014 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1)
12-May-2014 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (6)
27-Apr-2014 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1m)
26-Apr-2014 : Whelford Pools, Glos (11+m,2f)
24-Apr-2014 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
21-Apr-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (10+)
17-Apr-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (10+m,2f)
15-Apr-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (6+)
13-Apr-2014 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (2m)
13-Apr-2014 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
10-Apr-2014 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1f)