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Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)

Butterfly bush Common Names: Orange eye butterflybush, Summer lilac

Description: Introduced to North America as an ornamental. Very attractive to butterflies.

Habit: Large, weeping form, can grow 3-12 ft in height and spread 4-15 ft.

Leaves: Opposite, lance-shaped leaves (6-10 in), margins finely toothed, grow on long arching stems, gray-green above in color with a white-tomentose lower surface.

Stems: Woody, pubescent, off white to light brown in color, arching, 3-12 ft tall and 4-15 ft wide.

Flowers: Small, tubular with four petals, fragrant and borne in long, erect or nodding spikes, 8-18 in with cone-shaped clusters that droop. Clusters can be so profuse that they cause the branches to arch even more. Purple, white, pink or red in color and usually have an orange throat in the center; blooms mid-to late summer until frost.

Fruit and seeds: Small capsules.

Habitat: Native to China; grows well in well drained, average soil such as surface mined lands, coastal forest edges, roadsides, abandoned railroads, rural dumps, and stream and river banks.

Reproduction: By seeds that are produced in large quantities and dispersed by wind.

Similar species: Lindley's butterfly bush (Buddleja lindleyana), can also become invasive once escaped.

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand pick seedlings or dig out where possible. Big plants may be difficult to dig out. Cut plants and treat stumps with any of several readily available general use herbicides such as triclopyr or glyphosate. Goats eat this plant and can be managed over 3-4 years. A species of weevil, Cleopus japonicus was tested and showed potential control as well as a species of stem boring beetle, Mecyslobus erro.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and the UConn Horticulture Plant Database.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Butterfly bush

Scientific Name:

Buddleja davidii







USDA Symbol: