Wednesday in the garden: Painted Lady butterfly

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you pictures of a butterfly called the American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis). This week, I have a very similar butterfly with an almost identical name, the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). Both are members of the Nymphalidae or Brush-footed butterfly family. Another very similar member of that family is the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). I can find all of them in my garden throughout much of the year, but they are particularly abundant in the autumn.

The American Painted Lady and the Painted Lady are almost impossible to distinguish with the naked eye (at least with my naked eye) in the field. It is only with a camera that can stop those fluttering wings for an instant that you can see the differences. The difference is mainly in the pattern of white spots on the forewings.

All of the Vanessas have a lot in common. For example, there is their fondness for marigolds. And all of them are beautiful.


  1. Beautiful butterflies and flowers. :-)

    1. My marigolds have really outdone themselves with blooming this summer and fall.

  2. Replies
    1. It's always a pleasure to encounter one in the garden.


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