The Botanical Review

, 75:292 | Cite as

The Invasive Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)

  • Nita G. Tallent-Halsell
  • Michael S. Watt


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.


Buddleja davidii Buddlejaceae Butterfly Bush Invasive Species 


Buddleja davidii Franchet (Synonym Buddleia davidii, umgangsprachlich “Schmetterlingsflieder”) ist ein ausdauernder, halb-immergruener, mehrstaemmiger Busch welcher in Gaerten und auf Umbruchflaechen gedeiht. Seit seiner Einfuehrung in die UK aus China im spaeten 19. Jahrhundert hat B. davidii in Pflanzenzucht und Kultivierung stark an Bedeutung gewonnen. Unabhaengig von seiner Beliebtheit in der Landschaftsgestaltung stellt B. davidii wegen seiner Faehigkeit, sich ueber Gartengrenzen hinaus unter einer Vielzahl von Wachstumsbedingungen in gestoerten Naturgebieten schnell auszubreiten und dort die einheimische Flora zu dominieren, ein grosses Problem dar. Das Ziel der vorliegenden Rezension ist es eine Synopsis zu erstellen, welche die Auswirkungen und Gefahren der konstanten Praesenz von B. davidii in Gaerten und der Naturlandschaft verdeutlicht. Management Optionen und -Fehlschlaege sowie aktuelle Regulationen zu dem Zwecke B. davidii aus natuerlichen Ecosystemen zu entfernen oder sein vordringen zu verhindern, werden ebenfalls diskutiert.



This review would not have been feasible without the work of all listed in the literature cited. First and foremost, we acknowledge the theses and dissertations of John Adkins, Katy Brown, Susan Ebeling, Jeffrey Gillman, Julian Jay, Jennifer Leach, Anna Miller, Julie Ream, and Marc Thomas, who like us, made B. davidii the focal point for their research. We also thank Lawrence Walker, Elizabeth Powell, Sarah Reichard, Joan Cabreza, Duane Peltzer, George Malanson, Stan Smith, Brenda Buck, Peter Bellingham, Darren Kriticos, Hilton Turnbull and other anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on this manuscript. Pam Grossmann drew Fig. 1. Frau Painter, Susan Ebeling, and Marc Thomas contributed to the German abstract. We are always extremely appreciative of the support lent by Jeffrey Halsell. This project was supported by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, (School of Life Sciences and International Studies Program), and also received funding from the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Ecosystem resilience Outcome-based investment). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through its Office of Research and Development collaborated in the research. This manuscript has been subject to Agency peer review and approved for publication. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation for use.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Landscape Ecology BranchUS Environmental Protection AgencyLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.University of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.ScionChristchurchNew Zealand

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