Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly Coloration, Characteristics and Size

The orange and black Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is one of the most common butterfly species in the world.

Unlike many butterflies, it does not become dormant during the winter and cannot survive heavy frosts or colder conditions. Therefore it migrates to warmer climates in winter.

Its size is in the 2.0" - 2.5" range.


The Painted Lady lives just about everywhere, especially meadows, parks, and gardens. Its range includes all of the United States Mexico, and most of Candada.

Identification of the Painted Lady Butterfly

It is similar to the American Lady which has two large eyespots on the hindwing below, wheras the Painted Lady has four eyespots.

Differences between the Painted Lady and the American Lady


Nectar and Host Plants Used by the Painted Lady

Host plants include thistle, mallows, hollyhock, legumes, others.

The Painted Lady feeds on nectar from the flowers of thistles, red clover, asters, and many other plants.

Painted Lady Butterfly Life Cycle Stages and Times

Stage Typical Duration
Egg stage 4 to 14 days
Caterpillar (larval) stage 2 to 4 weeks
Chrysalis (pupal) stage 7 to 14 days
Adult butterfly stage 6 to 20 days


Photo of the Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly(dorsal view)
Painted Lady Butterfly in East Texas