The Painted Lady is perhaps the most widely distributed butterfly in the world, found all over Eurasia and the Americas. It looks like a common or garden butterfly, orange/tan with splotches of black fanning out to black with splotches of tan and white. The taxonomic name is Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus). It's also known as the Thistle Butterfly and the Cosmopolitan.

The adults live on thistles, clover, and lucerne (alfalfa) and a few other garden plants. The larvae like all sorts of things, such as thistles, hollyhock, borage, mallow, and peas, but more than a hundred host species have been found.

Clear pictures of it, and the underside of its wings, and its larva, at

The name is also used for, among other things, a variety of geranium (splashes of red with white eye); and a colourful Australian seashell covered in ornate patterns in pink. Its taxonomic name is Phasianella australis and it's also called the pheasant shell. There is a D.W. Griffith short silent film called The Painted Lady.