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Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

On this page, we have made available all the information we have for this species

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Picture of Orange-tip
© Nick Greatorex-Davies

The Orange Tip is a familiar spring butterfly throughout most of Britain and Ireland and is seen most frequently in gardens, along hedgerows, riverbanks, damp meadows and woodland edges. Like the Green-veined White the caterpillars feed on a range of wild Cruciferae but are especially associated with Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratense) and Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) (For further details on this species see

Family : Pieridae

Status : Stable

Status details :
Status since 1976 is Stable with a increase of 15%
Status over the last 20 years is Rapid increase with a increase of 45%
Status over the last 10 years is Stable with a increase of 43%

Log collated index plot

Species Log Collated Index Plot

This chart shows the index of abundance (LCI = Log Collated Index) over time. It shows fluctuations in populations from year to year, and is scaled so that the average index over the whole series is equal to 2 (horizontal line). For greater detail about how this index is derived, click on the green question mark above.

Trend description :
Although the trend for this species is positive it is not significant. Note the narrow log scale on the graph compared to other species: the Orange Tip is one of the most stable butterflies for which collated indices are produced varying relatively little in abundance from year to year. During the UKBMS monitoring it has been increasingly recorded on transects in Scotland where abaundance has significantly increased and it has now become a common sight in Spring.

This map shows the distribution between 1995 and 2016. Data is derived from the Butterflies for the New Millenium dataset via the NBN Gateway

Phenology plot
Species Phenology Plot

Phenology plot

This chart shows the average number of butterflies seen on transects between Arpil and October across all sites (fitted values from a Generalised Additive Model). The blue line gives average counts over the full BMS series (1976 to date) and the red line gives the average for the last year.

Species abundance map


This map shows symbols for the mean abundance at transect sites, with the colour of the symbol reflecting the level of abundance. Means are over all years. Grey background squares are the occupied cells as shown by the Butterflies for the New Millenium over the previous ten year period.


In total, Orange-tip has been recorded from 842 transects in the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Of these, annual indices of abundance have been calculated from 950 sites, with an average index of 12 individuals per site.

For 428 of these sites, Orange-tip has been recorded well enough to calculate annual indices of abundance in more years, allowing trends to be calculated.

In 2019, 5408 individuals were recorded from 538 sites, producing annual indices at 301 of these.

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is organized and funded by Butterfly Conservation (BC), the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The UKBMS is indebted to all volunteers who contribute data to the scheme.