Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui (=Cynthia cardui)


The wingspread of the painted lady is between 5 and 6.5 cm and its colour varies between orange and brown. The top of the fore-wings has white flecks and the back wings have black flecks on them. On the underside of the back wings are 4 to 5 small rosettes. The painted lady needs biotopes with many flowers, thus it can be found in open, dry areas like dry meadows, fields or fallow land. The caterpillars prefer thistles, stinging nettles and burdocks, while the adult butterflies are not as selective. This fact is one of the reasons why the painted lady is still quite common in central Europe and in Luxembourg. The orange-eye butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is, by its special fragrance, particularly attractive to the painted lady.

Did you know?

Only few people know that not only birds, but also some butterflies change their accommodation between summer and winter and cover long distances inbetween. One of these butterflies is the painted lady that is spending the cold winter season in the Mediterranean and comes back to our regions at the beginning of summertime. The size of the migrating populations is changing each year, but it can be similar to an invasion.

This species is the epitome of the migrating butterflies and can be observed nearly everywhere in the world. The existence of the painted lady was proved in each European country. The most remarkable about this butterfly is probably the fact that it crosses the Alps during its migration. This proves its excellent and arduous ability to fly.

Painted Lady
Karin Scholtes