Red Admiral on Buddleia

Red Admiral on Buddleia - ©Amy Lewis

Buddleia

Scientific name: Buddleja davidii
Buddleia is a familiar shrub, well-known for its attractiveness to butterflies. It is actually an introduced species, however, that has become naturalised on waste ground, railway cuttings and in towns.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 4m

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species.

When to see

January to December

About

Buddleia is a popular garden plant that was introduced into the UK from China in the 1890s and has now become widely naturalised on waste ground, along railway cuttings and in urban areas. Its familiar purple flowers bloom from June to October and attract all kinds of butterflies and moths looking for nectar sources. Its winged seeds are dispersed by the wind and find it easy to colonise stony ground.

How to identify

Buddleia is a very familiar bush, with large, drooping spikes of densely clustered, small, purple (or sometimes white) flowers. It has long, narrow leaves and the flowers have a honey-like fragrance.

Distribution

Widespread, except in the far north.

Did you know?

Buddleia is also known as the 'Butterfly Bush', because it is such a popular nectar source in gardens. Eminent naturalist, Richard Mabey, reported regularly seeing 'more than 50 individuals of up to ten species together on a single bush' in his own garden in August.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.