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Buddleja davidii

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]  
Formerly in: Buddleja Family [Buddlejaceae]

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12th June 2008, Partington Mess, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
A veer weedy urban shrub colonizing any nook even high up in the walls of buildings. Leaves lanceolate, mid-green.

24th April 2006, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Stalybridge. Photo: © RWD
Flowers are in terminal clusters, drooping on the ends of stems.

30th July 2004, Ashton Canal, Gorton, Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The flower cluster takes the form of a tapered cylinder with a rounded end.

30th July 2004, Ashton Canal, Gorton, Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The individual flowers f the clusters are bright purple with a small yellow/orange eye in the centre.

24th April 2006, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Stalybridge. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have four crinkly petals with a deep yellow/orange hollow in the centre.

21st Aug 2010, Ashton Canal, Beswick, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flowers terminate the flower tube with a kind of square boxing-glove.

21st August 2008, Middleton Locks, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
There is an albino variety that, apart from the flowers being white, is no different to the purple sort. Both go brown when going to seed.

21st Aug 2010, Ashton Canal, Beswick, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are seen to have a very long narrow tube that abruptly open out at the ends into four petals. The inside of the tube is always yellow/orange and independent of petal colour.

POSSIBLY the hybrid between Orange-Ball Tree & Butterfly-bush ?

(Buddleja × weyeriana ?)
22nd August 2007, Conway, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
An orange garden variety looking similar to Orange-Ball-Tree [which is of the same family]. This is possibly the hybrid between Orange-Ball-Tree and Butterfly-Bush.

Hybridizes with: Orange-Ball-Tree producing Weyer's Butterfly-Bush (buddleja × weyeriana), a Butterfly-Bush type plant with orange-coloured flowers that are not as compactly spherical as are those of the Orange-Ball-Tree.

Slight resemblance to : Purple Loosestrife but only insofar as that too has a purple spike of flowers, often arching on larger plants.

Distinguishing Feature : Its long arching branches with a dense terminal spike of purple or mauve flowers consisting of hundreds of trumpet-shaped petals ending splayed into four short petals. The inner tube of the flowers is a striking and harshly contrasting yellow-orange colour.

Butterfly-Bush obtains its name because it attracts butterflies which often land on its flowers. A tall bush or shrub to 8 metres tall, but often much shorter, popularly grown in gardens. There are a great many varieties of Buddleja grown for gardens, some mainly white, others orange, a few red, but these too can escape into the wild fairly easily, especially the white variety.

Butterfly-Bush also has a reputation for growing wild and behaving very weedishly, especially in walls and canal abutments. It spreads rapidly in an urban environment quickly establishing itself in the brickwork of buildings and even in tall mill chimneys, where it can damage the brickwork causing great damage. It runs rampant over industrial land, derelict land and land due for development and along railways and can rapidly colonize whole areas. It is worst on disturbed land. It is a problem that seems to be un-addressed in the UK.

Each plant produces about 80,000 seeds and likes alkaline substrates, it can penetrate lime mortar, concrete, and various other building materials, where it weakens the structure.


Oxoisophorones are volatile fragrant terpenoids which smell sweetish and surround the flowers. These compounds elicit an antennae response in many butterflies, which is what probably attracts them (and nocturnal moths) to the bush. Note that the oxide is just the epoxide of the former, breaking the double bond with a bridging oxygen atom. They are based upon Quinone.

(E)(E)-α-Farnesene is a sesquiterpene and the same Farnesene that is featured elsewhere in this tome and is the one most commonly encountered in the plant world. It is found in the sticky coating on Apple and other fruits smelling of 'green apples'. In air it oxidizes, the oxidation products being damaging to the fruit, resulting in a storage disorder known as 'scald'. It also acts as a semiochemical, sending a chemical alarm pheromone to insects such as termites whilst at the same time acting as a food attractant to Codling Moths who will eat the Apples.

  Buddleja davidii  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Scrophulariaceae  

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Buddleja davidii

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]  
Formerly in: Buddleja Family [Buddlejaceae]

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