Posted by: atowhee | July 27, 2013


butfly n budle (1280x1280)
The buddleia has earned its nickname, “butterfly bush.” This white one we planted in front of our house four years ago. It is now fifteen feet tall and covered with butterfly-enticing blooms. It also draws a variety of small bees.
The butterfly is a western swallowtail. It is believed the “tails” and false eyespots on the rear end of the butterfly can mislead predators into attacked the wrong end. This species can be found across much of Oregon and California and is present from march through September.
Most strains of buddleia are now banned for sale in Oregon. Here is the information on the state’s department of agriculture website. Some specially bred cultivars are OK as they have almost no seeds.
What’s the problem? Well, having lived in damp, low elevation London, I can tell you. The buddleia is a great perennial plant that can live almost anywhere with enough moisture. In England you see them growing from the cracks in old brick railroad bridges, out of the side of castles or steeples, in unused parcels of urban land they form thickets live blackberries do in much of the western U.S. Give a buddleia seed a crevice and some moisture and you get instant bush, pushing its way into any structure, an invading invasive indeed.
In Oregon the buddleia is primarily of concern west of the coastal range where the moisture is plentiful and the plant could quickly cover every inch of open ground as well as pry apart rural bridges, clog culverts, upend pavement or stone walls.
We purchased ours legally before the ban went into effect and I am diligent to watch for any sprouts hereabouts. Of course, if one of our Robins decides to “deposit” a buddleia seed on your land, just don’t water it, or pull it out if you don’t want a buddleia forest. Meanwhile the native butterflies are enjoying one single exotic, banned butterfly bush.

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