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Buddleja davidii

Buddleja davidii

Scientific name: Buddleja davidii, often spelled Buddleia

Common names: Butterfly bush, orange-eye butterfly bush, summer lilac, mimenghua, mi meng hua

Family: Buddlejaceae

Nativity: China and Japan

Location: Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve, Leland, NC

Date: October 24, 2016

Notes: The beautifully ornamental butterfly bush is widely planted in the southeastern United States, and all around the world. It is beloved as a nectar plant for butterflies, but is not a host plant for Southeast native insects. It has naturalized in Britain and is considered invasive in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Northwest.

Since local butterflies don’t lay their eggs on it, and it has potential for taking over in areas where those host plants are needed, how about a native plant instead? Consider the butterfly magnet, buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), or fothergilla (Fothergilla spp.), or a North American salvia (Salvia coccinea, and others). All look beautiful and provide for local wildlife at the same time — and they add variety and some diversity to your landscape! Who needs a million butterfly bushes if you can plant some other nice things?

If you already have a butterfly bush or find a naturalized one, feel free to use it all up! They make good dye plants, producing shades of green, golden-orange and brown. [1] In China, Buddleja officialis, and perhaps this species as well [2], is used for pink-eye with swelling, watering of the eyes, and for sharpening vision. [3] Anecdotally, B. davidii flowers make a delicious medicinal syrup with sedative properties. [4]


[1], accessed November 4, 2016.
[2], accessed November 4, 2016.
[3] Chinese Herbal Cures, Henry C. Lu, Sterling Publishing, 1994.
[4], see comment by Sally M., accessed November 4, 2016.

This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. Have you tried Clethra? That might be a good option. I probably should have suggested that in the post. It has a beautiful scent, some say like French perfume, and the bees and butterflies love it.

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