Butterfly Bush
White buddleia closeup.jpg
Buddleja davidii (white flowered form)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Unranked: Angiosperms
Unranked: Eudicots
Unranked: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Tribe: Buddlejeae[1]
Genus: Buddleja
Type species
Buddleja americana

About 100 species, see text.


Adenoplea Radlk.
Adenoplusia Radlk.
Buddleia L., orth. var.
Chilianthus Burch.[3]

Buddleja, often misspelled Buddleia (Template:Pron-en), and often with the common name Butterfly Bush[4] is a genus of flowering plants. The generic name honours Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), who was a botanist and a rector in Essex, England but could never have seen a plant. It is now included in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae, though in the past was previously classified in either the Loganiaceae or in a family of its own, the Buddlejaceae.


The roughly 100 species are mostly shrubs, a few being trees; the largest species reach Template:Convert tall, but most species rarely exceed Template:Convert tall. Both evergreen and deciduous species occur. Over 60 species are native throughout the warmer parts of the New World from the southern United States south to Chile, many other species are found 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 Template:Convert long. The flowers are produced in dense panicles Template:Convert long; each individual flower is tubular, about Template:Convert long, with the corolla divided into four spreading lobes (petals), about Template:Convert 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 Template:Convert long and Template:Convert 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.

Cultivation and usesEdit

As garden shrubs Buddleias are 20th-century plants, with the exception of B. globosa, brought from southern Chile to Britain in 1774 and disseminated from the nursery of Lee and Kennedy, Hammersmith.[5]

Several species are popular garden plants, the species are commonly known as butterfly bush due to their attractiveness to butterflies and have become staples of the modern butterfly garden; 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. × weyeriana (B. globosa × B. davidii).

Some species commonly escape 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 buddlejas, the most recent of which is the production of a dwarf variety Lo & Behold(TM) "Blue Chip"(TM) that reaches no more than Template:Convert tall.


The botanic name has been the source of some confusion. By modern practice of botanical Latin, the spelling of a generic name made from "Buddle" would be "Buddleia", but Linnaeus in 1753 and 1754 spelled it "Buddleja". The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has gradually changed to incorporate stricter rules about orthographic variants, and as of the 2006 edition requires (article 60, particularly 60.5) that Linnaeus' spelling should be followed in this case.


The many species of Buddleja have been the subject of much taxonomic contention. The listing below is based on the most recent reviews of the genus, by Leeuwenberg (Asiatic and African species) in 1979, and Norman (American species) in 2000 (see Monographs). In the former's work, many 'species' have been sunk as varieties.

Formerly placed hereEdit



Asiatic and African species:Edit
  • Leeuwenberg, A. J. M. (1979) The Loganiaceae of Africa XVIII Buddleja L. II, Revision of the African & Asiatic species. H. Veenman & Zonen B. V., Wageningen, Netherlands.
American species:Edit
  • Norman, E. (2000). Buddlejaceae. Flora Neotropica, Vol. 81. New York Botanical Garden, USA.
All species:Edit
  • Stuart, D. (2006). Buddlejas. Timber Press, Oregon, USA. ISBN=9780881926880


Template:Commons category Template:Wikispecies

  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite web
  4. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607; OED: "Buddleia"
  5. Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Buddleia".
  6. Template:ITIS
  7. Template:Cite web
  8. Norman, E. (2000). Buddlejaceae. Flora Neotropica, Vol. 81. New York Botanical Garden, USA.

External linksEdit