Science Inventory

The Invasive Buddleja Daviddi (Butterfly Bush)


TALLENT-HALSELL, N. G. AND M. S. Watt. The Invasive Buddleja Daviddi (Butterfly Bush). Botanical Review. Springer, New York, NY, , 1-34, (2009).


Buddleja davidii Franchet is a perennial, semi-deciduous shrub or small multi-stemmed tree that readily establishes on disturbed sites in regions with temperate, subtropical, and tropical climates. Native to central and western China, B. davidii has been introduced as an ornamental to the Americas, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe because of its fragrant and colorful flowers (Synonym. Buddleia davidii, Buddlea davidii; Buddleia variabilis Hemsl., Buddleia magnifica Hort, Buddleia nanoensis Hort; Bailey & Bailey, 1976; Bricknell & Zuk, 1997; Family Buddlejaceae; Common names: butterfly bush, orange-eyed butterfly bush, summer lilac). In the 100 years since B. davidii’s introduction, the tree has spread from gardens to disturbed and natural areas including floodplains, railroad and road edges, forest burns, and clear-cuts. Horticulturalists, landscapers, gardeners, butterfly enthusiasts, bird watchers, and the general public welcome and celebrate B. davidii’s colorful and fragrant place in urbanized landscapes (Coats, 1992; Dirr, 1997; Dole, 1997; Klingaman, 2002; Savonen, 2004; Wilson et al., 2004a; Forrest, 2006; Stuart, 2006; KCGG, 2007). However, many others consider B. davidii invasive and problematic. There is concern that it has potential negative and irreversible impacts on agricultural and wild lands it invades (Richardson et al., 1996; Reichard & Hamilton, 1997; Anisko & Im, 2001; Reinhardt et al., 2003; Wilson et al., 2004b; PIER, 2005; WSNWCB, 2006). The desire to protect the continued presence of B. davidii in gardens is matched by the concern by land managers to control B. davidii. It is clear that B. davidii is an important component of both horticulture and society (Stuart, 2006). Considering the level of interest in B. davidii by both the public and land managers, a thorough understanding of the ecological impacts of B. davidii naturalization over the long-term is required. Despite research on the distribution, ecology, physiology, and management of B. davidii gaps exist in our knowledge about native and non-indigenous B. davidii. The primary goal of this paper is to synthesize what is known about B. davidii so that ecologists, horticulturalists, and others can fully appreciate the impacts of the continued presence of B. davidii in gardens and natural landscapes, and understand the repercussions of management efforts. This review of the literature concerning B. davidii is divided into six sections: history, taxonomy, distribution, biology, ecology, and management.


Buddleja davidii Franchet (Synonym. Buddleia davidii; common name butterfly bush) is a perennial, semi-deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub that is resident in gardens and disturbed areas. Since its introduction to the United Kingdom from China in the late 1800s, B. davidii has become an important component in horticulture and human culture. Despite its popularity as a landscape plant, B. davidii is considered problematic because of its ability to naturalize outside of gardens and rapidly invade and dominate disturbed natural areas across a wide range of physical conditions. The primary goal of this paper is to synthesize what is known about B. davidii in order to understand the impacts caused by the continued presence of B. davidii in gardens and natural landscapes. We also address management of B. davidii and discuss the repercussions of management strategies and policies currently implemented to protect or remove B. davidii from natural ecosystems.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 05/22/2009
Record Last Revised: 12/07/2009
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 204223