Orange Tips butterfly card by Julian Williams
Greeting card with coloured envelope featuring butterflies
These butterfly cards are part of our Nature Notes Series which can be seen here: Greeting Cards for Butterfly Lovers and Lepidopteritsts
These cards include an introductory text on the back of the cards. TEXT written on the back of this card reads:
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines) on Cuckoo Flowers
Orange Tips are medium small butterflies in the family Pieridae, which contains about 1,100 species. The butterflies are mainly found throughout Europe and temperate Asia. Only the males have the signature orange tips to their wings. The females, which have no orange tips, can be easily mistaken for Green Veined or Small Whites, however the underside the hind wings of all Orange Tips are distinctively marked and delicately patterned (illustrated).
The adult butterflies, which only fly for a few weeks in mid Spring, are harbingers of warmer more settled weather after the long cold months of winter. They lay their eggs on the developing seed pods of cuckooflower and garlic mustard.
Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis); Its common name refers to the arrival of the flowers at the same time as the cuckoo begins to sing. The plants have gained other folk names, including Ladies Smock because in olden times the rifts of pale blooms painted the green meadows with patches of off-white, and this would remind people of the washing left to dry in the sun. Another common name is Milkmaids.
The leaves of Cuckooflower are edible and are from the same genus as plants from which the spice cardamom is made. The leaves can be used in salads as a substitute for water cress. The leaves taste of hot mustard or wasabi, the flowers faintly of cress with sweet and hot hints. A tea made with the leaves of this plant was often used in the past as a Spring tonic or for menstrual disorders.