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Butterfly-bush

Invasive Species Information

bush - Buddleja davidii Biodiversity Medum Risk

What Is Butterfly-bushBuddleja davidii?

Habitat: Terrestrial
Distribution in Ireland: Locally abundant in some places

Status: Established

Family name: Buddlejaceae

Reproduction: The honey-scented lilac to purple inflorescences are terminal panicles, < 20 cm long. Flowers are perfect (having both male and female parts), hence are hermaphrodite rather than monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same plant) as is often incorrectly stated. Numerous seeds are produced and distributed by wind and water.

Butterfly-bush - Buddleja davidii Flower

Butterfly-bush Flower

Butterfly-bush - Buddleja davidii Leaves

Butterfly-bush leaves

The Butterfy-bush is a perennial shrub is able to grow just about anywhere; waste ground, embankments, even on the rooftops derelict buildings and, It is a shrub which branches from ground level. 

 

From May to August it carries long, conical 4 lobbed pink, mauve. lilac, yellow or white flowers (3-4mm across) which have a small orange 'eye' which are strongly scented. 

Butterfly-bushes are vigorous shrubs with an arching habit, growing to 5 m in height. The pale brown bark becomes deeply fissured with age.

 

The branches are quadrangular in section, the younger shoots covered in a dense indumentum.

 

The plant has lanceolate, opposite leaves (7–13 cm long) which are grey-green and has arching stems which are light coloured, appearing somewhat cracked. Butterfly-bushes are upright, multi-stemmed shrubs. In northern climates it will typically be killed back to the ground frosts.

How To Identify Butterfly-bush?

Butterfly-bush - Buddleja davidii ID Guide

Leaf: Opposite, simple, ovate to lance shaped, finely serrated, 7-13 cm long, dark green above, white-fuzzy underlay.
Flower: Narrow, upright spikes of deep purple, pink, yellow or white, small individual flowers with four petals.
Fruit: Dry, two-valved capsules, ripen in late summer and autumn.
Stem/Twig: Moderately stout, very angled, initially green, turning light brown, large white pith, small buds.
Bark: Thin, brown, splitting and peeling.

Butterfly-bush - Buddleja davidii ID Guide

Why Is Butterfly-bush A Problem?

Butterfly bush is an invasive plant, meaning it out-competes and crowds out beneficial native plants that have been naturally growing for centuries.

 

In Ireland, butterfly bush, which has origins in Asia, readily spreads and takes over space where native plants would normally thrive. In fact, butterfly bush has life history traits that make it invasive in most environments.

Butterfly-bush - Buddleja davidii Stem

Butterfly-bush Stem

European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 non-native invasive plant species A-Z (Updated 2017)

There are currently 35 invasive plant species listed in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations (annex 2, Part 1)...

 

Click on a species from the following list to find out more regarding non-native species subject to restrictions under Regulations 49 and 50.

  1. American Skunk-CabbageLysichiton americanus

  2. Brazilian Giant-RhubarbGunnera manicata

  3. Broad-Leaved RushJuncus planifolius

  4. Cape PondweedAponogeton distachyos

  5. Cord-GrassesSpartina (all species and hybrids)

  6. Curly Waterweed - Lagarosiphon major

  7. Dwarf Eel-GrassZostera japonica

  8. FanwortCabomba caroliniana

  9. Floating PennywortHydrocotyle ranunculoides

  10. Fringed Water-LilyNymphoides peltata

  11. Giant HogweedHeracleum mantegazzianum

  12. Giant KnotweedFallopia sachalinensis

  13. Giant-RhubarbGunnera tinctoria

  14. Giant SalviniaSalvinia molesta

  15. Himalayan BalsamImpatiens glandulifera

  16. Himalayan KnotweedPersicaria wallichii

  17. Hottentot-FigCarpobrotus edulis

  18. Japanese KnotweedFallopia japonica

  19. Large-Flowered WaterweedEgeria densa

  20. Mile-a-Minute WeedPersicaria perfoliata

  21. New Zealand PigmyweedCrassula helmsii

  22. Parrots FeatherMyriophyllum aquaticum

  23. Red AlgaGrateloupia doryphora

  24. RhododendronRhododendron ponticum

  25. SalmonberryRubus spectabilis

  26. Sea-Buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides

  27. Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

  28. Three-Cornered LeekAllium triquetrum

  29. WakameUndaria pinnatifida

  30. Water ChestnutTrapa natans

  31. Water FernAzolla filiculoides

  32. Water LettucePistia stratiotes

  33. Water-PrimroseLudwigia (all species)

  34. WaterweedsElodea (all species)

  35. WireweedSargassum muticum

Additional Non-Native Plant Species identified as Medium Risk on Ireland's Biodiversity List...

Common name 

African woodsorrel

American skunk cabbage

Annual bur-sage

Antithamnionella ternifolia

Barberry

Black currant

Brazilian waterweed

Butterfly-bush

Canadian-fleabane

Clover broomrape

Creeping Bellflower

Dead man's fingers

Douglas fir

Early goldenrod

False acacia

Field penny-cress

Garden lupin

Giant rhubarb

Hairy rocket

Himalayan honeysuckle

Himalayan knotweed

Holm oak

Japanese barberry

Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese rose

Leafy spurge

Least duckweed

Narrow-leaved ragwort

New Zealand bur

Ostrich fern

Pampas grass

Pitcherplant

Red oak

Red sheath tunicate

Rock cotoneaster

Rum cherry

Russian-vine

Salmonberry

Sea-buckthorn

Sycamore

Three-cornered garlic

Traveler's-joy

Tree of heaven

Turkey oak

Virginia-creeper

Warty cabbage

Water fern

Wild parsnip

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