California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui

The Painted Lady Butterfly will rest on the ground or on flowers to get a drink of nectar to keep them going. There is a webpage discussing the link between El Nino and the massive Painted Lady Butterfly migrations. Painted Lady Butterflies come into the yard's adjacent to weedy lots commonly in the Spring. They thrive on a wide variety of plant material including a number of plants in the hibiscus family including Lavatera, Pavonia, Anisodontea, and Alyogyne. Many of the composites including Cosmos, Solidago, Erigeron, Gnaphalium californicum, Leucanthemum superbum, and Osteospermum. The preferred food is the thistle, including Centaurea gymnocarpa, hence the other common name for Vanessa cardui, Thistle Butterfly. One of the larger Genera of thistles is Carduus.

High resolution photos of the Painted Lady Butterfly are part of our garden image collection.

Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui