Yet again, another survivor of the onslaught of fall! … er, both the butterflies and the flowers. 🙂
Cabbage whites are a non-native species in the Americas. They appeared for the first time in the late 1800s and quickly spread, devouring most anything in the mustard family along the way. Cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, the caterpillars chomp it all. Control measures (read: pesticides, native predators, and the ilk) now keep the larvae from inflicting as much damage on commercial crops as when they were first introduced.
But after they become butterflies, cabbage whites pollinate countless other plants. They are a bountiful food source for songbirds, with those lovely visible white wings. They’re not picky about where they settle and can be found from Canada to South America, North Africa to the UK. They’ve got stamina – adults can fly for longer distances than I can walk right now!
So late in the year, as deep green murmurs change to dry colorful crunches, I watch for these hardy ones and am grateful for those alabaster flitters.