(Buddleia davidii)


leaves' underside

Winter twig
Winter twig

peacock butterfly

Buddleia + peacock butterfly

painted lady butterfly

Buddleia + painted lady butterfly

distribution map

The leaves are opposite, 10-25 cm long, and on very short stalks. They are dark green above and white hairy below with a finely toothed margin.

ID check

Buddleia is a deciduous shrub up to 5 m in height with widely spreading branches. It was introduced to gardens at the end of the 19th century and now is widely naturalised, especially on railway banks and waste ground.

Long, dense spikes of small 4-5 petalled, highly scented flowers, appear at the end of branches from June onwards.

Most flowers are lavender or purple, but they can vary in colour from white through pink to mauve.

Flowers develop into narrow pods which stay on the bush most of the winter.


  • The nectar at the bottom of the tubular flowers attracts many butterflies and day-flying moths including painted lady, peacock and red admiral.

  • The name Buddleia commemorates a botanist Adam Buddle, an early 18th century clergyman born in Lincolnshire.

  • It is a native of west and central China introduced to Britain in about 1890.

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