PIERIS RAPAE

Also known as the Cabbage White Butterfly is an easy to spot Spring emergence in many San Francisco gardens including Kezar Ecology Center.   Similar looking to a moth, this butterfly is recognizable by the small black spots on its wings.  It can cause some crop damage, notably to cabbages and other veggies in that family like Kale or Broccoli.  The caterpillars are green and hard to spot, usually taking refuge on the leaf’s underside.  It is in the larvae stage and emergence as a caterpillar that is the most damaging to the crop.  But many gardeners find their impact relatively insignificant since its mostly takes place during the early stages of the life cycle and hesitate to label them a nuisance.

I caught these two cabbage whites getting busy on my organic beet leaves yesterday afternoon.  I did not have the heart to shoo them away, but I did spy on them a bit!  We will see how the beet fares when we harvest tomorrow afternoon.  Til then, here’s to love, cabbage, and butterfly season…