American Painted Lady

(Vanessa virginiensis)

American Painted Lady Butterfly:

Although this Painted Lady is wide spread throughout the United states and lower Canada, this butterfly is more commonly seen in the East than it is in the West.

It is on the wing from spring to fall and can be seen year round in some warmer regions in the deep South.

Like the closely related Painted Lady (Cosmopolitan), its numbers fluctuate from year to year as weather and predators play a huge factor in their numbers.

American Painted Lady

With its exquisitely, brightly colored upper side, and many-patterned underside, this butterfly is truly a sight to see.


The American Painted Lady is mostly orange above, with black and white wing tips and blue spots on the hind wings.

It is variously patterned below, with two large eyespots on the hind wings.

Wing span varies from 1 and 3/4 to 2 and 1/4 inches.


The Painted Lady favors open, sunny areas,

like open fields, meadows, parks and your gardens.


Males perch and wait for females to pass by. They also gather at watering holes (wet areas) to suck up a good drink of water.

Unlike its cousin, this butterfly is only occasionally migratory.

American Painted Lady Larvae

Host plants and larvae:

The Painted Lady Larvae feed on various species of everlasting. The larvae is black with yellow cross bands and a row of white spots on the sides.

Nectar plants:

Marigolds (Tagetes), goldenrod (Solidago), aster (Aster), butterfly bush, (Buddleia davidii) and a host of other nectar rich blooms.

Plant several of these in your gardens to attract various butterflies.

American Painted Lady and Other Common Butterflies

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