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ALTERNATE-LEAVED BUTTERFLY-BUSH

Buddleja alternifolia

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Broadleaf
category
category8Deciduous
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8lilac
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZcatkins
 
type
typeZtieredwhorls
 
type
typeZtrumpet
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8honey
honey

15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Often planted but self-seeds in hedges alongside roads, on banks or along woodland edges.


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Branches very long and thin, overarching or dangling downwards with many bunches of flowers.


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Flowers broken up into small bunches (unlike those of Butterfly-Bush which are in one much shorter but continuous bunch of flowers which tapers to a blunt point at the end)


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Upper leaves much thinner but also shorter, branching off from the curved flowering-'cane'. [The broad leaves just behind it and to the left have nothing to do with Alternate-leaved Butterfly-bush]. The leaves are alternate up the stem and narrowly elliptical in shape.


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
The flowers themselves are much the same as those of Butterfly-Bush: they are lilac coloured, have 4 petals.


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Flowers have a deep reddish-purple hole in the centre - being a long narrow reddish-purple cylindrical tube at the rear.


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
One floret here has but 3 petals.


15th June 2015 Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Stems more like canes growing out of the ground. Lower leaves both longer and wider (but possibly keeping more or less the same shape and aspect ratio) than the upper leaves. They are still narrow-elliptical in shape.


Easily mistaken for the related (same genus) : Butterfly-Bush (Buddleja davidii) but although that has similar coloured and shaped flowers, has them in much shorter only-slightly drooping panicles which taper towards the end (whereas Alternate-leaved Butterfly-bush has much longer racemes which droop much more and have flowers in dozens of small bunches. [Butterfly-bush might also have either white flowers or blue-purple flowers].

Not to be semantically confused with : Butterflys [a flying insect with coloured membaneous wings]

Some similarities to the orange flowered relatives : Orange-Ball-Tree (Buddleja globosa) and Weyer's Butterfly-Bush (Buddleja × weyeriana). The former has globular clusters of flowers just at the ends of short stalks whereas the latter is a hybrid between Butterfly-Bush and Orange-Ball-Tree.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : the long and drooping racemes of dozens of bunches of small lilac-coloured flowers.


  Buddleja alternifolia  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Scrophulariaceae  

Distribution
 family8Figwort family8Scrophulariaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Buddleja
Buddleja
(Butterfly-Bushes)

ALTERNATE-LEAVED BUTTERFLY-BUSH

Buddleja alternifolia

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]