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This butterfly is widely distributed and in some regions quite abundant. It occurs throughout Europe and the temperate zones of Asia, in North Africa and North America. The variability of this species is outstanding; a tremendous number of different forms and geographical races have been described. In central Europe it usually develops two generations and a partial third one. Butterflies of the different generations vary markedly in their appearance.

The green-veined white is found in fields, gardens meadows, along woodland margins and in clearings and mountain valleys. The female lays her eggs singly. The caterpillar hatches in 4 to 6 days. After hatching it devours the egg shell and later starts to feed on the surface of leaves. It does not eat the leaf edges until it is fully grown. Its development lasts two to three weeks, during which time it moults four times. The green-veined white only rarely becomes a pest. The pupa is greyish or green. The pupal stage lasts a week to ten days; in hibernating pupae about ten months.