Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui
True Brushfoots

Appearance: Above, mostly orange with pinkish tints and black forewing tips with bold white spots. Underside hindwing mottled brown and white with prominent veins and row of four yellow ringed blackish-blue spots along hindwing margin. The underside of forewing is similar to upper surface.

Size: Medium; 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches

Habitat: Very much a generalist showing up everywhere from plains to the alpine areas in the course of a season. They are a migratory butterfly which flies into this area in the spring and can stay until fall but cannot survive our harsh winters.

Season: May through September

Larval Foodplant: Often lays eggs on species of thistle, but other plants such as mallow and legumes have been used. Throughout its range, over 100 plants have been noted.

Did You Know…
Next to the Monarch this is one of the most commonly seen and recognized butterflies. Truly a ”Cosmopolitan Butterfly” seen on all continents except Antarctica and the only butterfly ever seen in Iceland (Pyle, 1981).

Species Gallery (click to enlarge)