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The Basics:


  •     Does it sting? No

  •     What does it eat? Asters

  •     Will it seriously damage plants or trees? Not usually

  •     Is it rare? No, but it isn't always common in all areas.

  •     What does it turn into? The pretty American Lady butterfly

  •     Can you raise it to an adult? Yes, if you give it an upright stick to pupate on.

American Painted Lady

Also known simply as the American Lady, this bright orange butterfly is very similar to the more common painted lady, Vanessa cardui, which is the species most often included in butterfly rearing kits. The American lady is brighter orange and a bit smaller, and flies earlier in the year. There are other "lady" butterflies across the United States, and even around the world.


This caterpillar feeds on asters, including everlasting. It has spines, but is completely harmless to humans. These caterpillars are generally easy to raise. They make a chrysalis; like virtually all butterfly species, they do not spin a cocoon.

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American lady butterfly: Vanessa virginiensis

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