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 Buddleja subsp. var.  Butterfly Bush
Starr 010717-0052 Buddleja davidii.jpg
Habit: shrub
Height: to
Width: to
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Features: flowers
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: red, orange, yellow, purple, white
Scrophulariaceae > Buddleja var. , L.

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Buddleja, often spelled Buddleia (pronounced /ˈbʌdliː.ə/),[1] is a genus of flowering plants. It is now included in the Scrophulariaceae, though in the past was previously classified in either the Loganiaceae or in a family of its own, the Buddlejaceae. The plant was named after the Reverend Adam Buddle who was a botanist and a rector in Essex, England.

The roughly 100 species are mostly shrubs, a few being trees; the largest species reach 30 m ft tall, but most species rarely exceed 5 m ft tall. Both evergreen and deciduous species occur. They are native throughout the warmer parts of the New World from the southern United States south to Chile, and widely in the Old World in Africa and the warmer parts of Asia, but absent as natives from Europe and Australasia. The species are divided into two groups based on their floral type, those in the New World being dioecious, and those in the Old World being monoecious.

The leaves are lanceolate in most species, and arranged in opposite pairs on the stems (alternate in one species, B. alternifolia); they range from 1 - 30 cm long. The flowers are produced in dense panicles 10 - 50 cm long; each individual flower is tubular, about 1 cm in long, with the corolla divided into four spreading lobes (petals), about 3 - 4 mm across. Flower colour varies widely, with white, pink, red, purple, orange or yellow flowers produced by different species and cultivars; they are rich in nectar and often strongly scented. The fruit is a small capsule about 1 cm long and 1 - 2 mm diameter, containing numerous small seeds; in a few species (previously classified in the separate genus Nicodemia) the capsule is soft and fleshy, forming a berry.

Several species are popular garden plants, The species are commonly known as butterfly bush due to their attractiveness to butterflies; they are also attractive to bees and moths. Some species of Buddleja with red flowers are also attractive to hummingbirds.

The most popular cultivated species is Buddleja davidii from central China, named after the French naturalist Père Armand David. Other common garden species include Buddleja globosa from southern Chile, grown for its strongly honey-scented orange globular flower-heads, and Buddleja alternifolia with lilac coloured flowers. Several interspecific hybrids can also be found, including B. X weyeriana (B. globosa X B. davidii).

Some species are commonly found as escapees from the garden. B. davidii in particular is a great coloniser of dry open ground; in towns in the United Kingdom, it often self-sows on waste ground or old masonry, where it grows into a dense thicket, and it is listed as an invasive species in many areas. It is frequently seen beside railway lines, on derelict factory sites and after the Second World War on urban bomb sites.

Popular garden varieties of Buddleja include "Royal Red" with pink-red flowers, "Black Knight" with dark navy blue flowers, "Sungold" with golden yellow flowers and "Pink Delight" with pastel pink coloured flowers. In recent years, much breeding work has been undertaken to create more compact buddleja plants, the most recent of which is the production of a dwarf variety Lo & Behold(TM) "Blue Chip"(TM) that reaches no more than 2-3ft tall.

Several species are popular garden plants, The species are commonly known as Butterfly Bush due to their attractiveness to butterflies; they are also attractive to bees and moths. Some species of Buddleja with red flowers are also attractive to hummingbirds.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Buddleia (after Adam Buddie, an English botanist). Syn., Buddlea. Loganiaceae. Ornamental shrubs or trees, chiefly grown for their handsome flowers profusely produced in showy panicles or globular heads.

Woody plants or rarely herbs, more or less covered with a stellate, glandular or scaly pubescence: Lvs. opposite, short-petioled, entire or serrate: fls. in racemes, panicles or clusters; corolla tubular or campanulate, 4-lobed; stamens included, 4: fr. a 2-celled caps, with numerous minute seeds.—-About 70 species in tropical and temperate regions of Amer., Asia and S. Afr., of which only a small number of hardier species is cult.

The buddleias are deciduous or sometimes half- evergreen trees or shrubs with usually quadrangular branches, narrow rather large leaves and small lilac, violet, white or yellow flowers in showy panicles or clusters. None of the species is hardy North, but some, as B. japonica, B. Davidii, B. Lindleyana and B. intermedia will live through the winter, if protected with dry leaves around the base; even if the stems are killed nearly to the ground, they will freely push forth young shoots in spring, which usually flower the same year. The handsomest in flower are B. Colvillei, B. Davidii, B. asiatica, B. globosa and B. officinalis.

They grow best in a rich, well-drained soil, in a sunny position; they are rather coarse plants and need much space. Propagation is readily effected by seeds sown in spring in gentle bottom heat, by greenwood cuttings under glass, or by hardwood cuttings taken off in fall and kept during the winter in a frostproof room.

B. albiflora, Hemsl. (B. Hemsleyana, Koehne). Allied to B. variabilis. Shrub or small tree, to 30 ft.: Lvs, lanceolate, 5-9 in. long, glabrous above, white or yellowish tomentose beneath: fla. flmall, lilac, in elongated spikes, sometimes to 20 in. long. W. China. G. 27:501.— Less handsome than B. variabilis: fls. not white, as the name implies, given under the impression that the fls. were white. —B. americtlna. Linn. Shrub, 8-12 ft.: Lvs. ovate to oblong-lanceolate, cuneate at the base, glabrous above, yellowish tomentose beneath, 4-10 in.: fls. in terminal densely tomentose panicles consist, ing of sessile subglobose clusters. Alex, to Peru.—B. auricultita, Benth. Straggling shrub: petioles auriculate; Lvs. oblong-lanceo- jate, entire or denticulate, grayish white tomentose below, 1½-3 in. Ipng: fls. cream-colored, fragrant, tomento.se outside, in terminal compact panicles; stamens above the middle. S. An. G.C. II. 16:833; 111.6:529. I.T. 1:20. Tender.—B. brasiliinsis. Jacq. f. Upright shrub: sta. quadrangular: Lvs. ovate to oblong-deltoid, crenate-serrate, white-tomentose below, 4-8 in. long, decurrent into the winged auriculate petiole: fls. orange-yellow, pubescent outside, in axillary clusters, forming terminal narrow panicles; stamens just below the mouth. Mex. to Brazil. B.M. 2713. Tender.—B. columbix, Andre. Upright shrub, similar to B. Lindley- ana. Lvs. narrow-lanceolate, entire, 4-8 in. long, glabrous: fls. white in terminal slender panicles: corolla with spreading lobes slightly shorter than the corolla-tube. Spring. Of unknown origin. R.H. 1901, p. 37. Tender.—B. crtspa. Bcnth. -B. paniculata.—B. HerMleytina, Koehne-B. albiflora.—B. panicultUa, Wall. (B. criipa, Benth.). 6-15 ft.: fls. lilac, in rather dense panicles: branches ind Lvs. tomentose. B.M. 4793. F.S. 9:958.—B. pulchWa, N. E. r. Shrub. 2 ft.: branchlets terete, tomentose: Lvs, hastate, irregularly lobed, or rhomboid to lanceolate, 1-2 in. long, pubescent: ns. white with orange eye, fragrant, in terminal panicles. 2-2 Vi in. long; corolla with slender tube, pubescent outside. S. Afr.(?>.—B. salicifolia, Jacq.-Chilianthus arboreus.—B. saHgnn, Willd.-Chil- ianthus arboreus.—B. tttenostAcHya, Kehd. & Wilson. Allied to B. nivea. Less fluffy: Lvs. oblong-lanceolate: panicles usually 3. long and slender; fls. larger, anthers inserted above the middle of the tube. W. China.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases


About 100 species, including:
Buddleja albiflora
Buddleja alternifolia
Buddleja americana
Buddleja asiatica
Buddleja auriculata
Buddleja australis
Buddleja bhutanica
Buddleja brasiliensis
Buddleja candida
Buddleja colvilei
Buddleja crispa
Buddleja crotonoides
Buddleja curviflora
Buddleja davidii
Buddleja delavayi
Buddleja fallowiana
Buddleja Xfarquharii
Buddleja Xfarquharii
Buddleja farreri
Buddleja forrestii
Buddleja globosa
Buddleja indica
Buddleja Xintermedia
Buddleja japonica
Buddleja lindleyana
Buddleja madagascariensis
Buddleja marrubiifolia
Buddleja myriantha
Buddleja nivea
Buddleja officinalis
Buddleja paniculata
= B. crispa[2] Buddleja parviflora
Buddleja pulchella
Buddleja racemosa
Buddleja saligna
Buddleja salviifolia
Buddleja scordioides
Buddleja sessiliflora
Buddleja stenostachya
Buddleja sterniana
Buddleja tubiflora
Buddleja utahensis
Buddleja yunnanensis



  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607; OED: "Buddleia"
  2. Hortus III, Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorum, 1976

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