E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Buddleja davidii Franch.
butterfly-bush (orange eye butterflybush)
Scrophulariaceae (Butterfly-bush family)
(Previously in Buddlejaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Hans J. Koch  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16976)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Buddleja davidii
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Butterflybush is an introduced garden shrub from northwestern China and Japan that is now escaped and naturalized in the USA (CA, CT, GA, HI, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, VA, WA, WV) and Canada (BC) (USDA 2010). In BC, it is found naturalized in the southwestern part of the province, on southeastern Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. Recent observation has shown spread in the Chilliwack area, including the Chilliwack River and Vedder Canal, as well as along Highway 99 part way to Squamish. It is readily visible and abundant along roadsides when in flower (mid-July to mid-September). Northward spread is temperature limited (tolerant to between -15C and -20C). Efforts to control spread in the Fraser Valley are underway, with some removal in 2009 and inventory to document the extent of spread along the Chilliwack River ongoing (Jeanne Hughes, Fraser Valley Invasive Plant Council, pers. com. 2010).

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Deciduous shrub 1-5 m tall; branches hairy with hairs radiating in a starshape.
Opposite, egg-shaped to lanceolate, 3-25 cm long, saw-toothed to more or less entire, grey woolly-hairy beneath, green above.
Inflorescence a large, terminal, branched raceme 15-25 cm long; corollas narrowly tubular below then spreading to 4 lobes, 7-9 mm wide, purplish with an orange eye.
Sharp-pointed, 2-segmented capsules, 5-8 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry disturbed areas and rocky slopes in the lowland zone; frequent in SW BC, known from SE Vancouver Island and the lower Fraser Valley; introduced from China.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

Buddleja davidii is considered an emerging invasive species by the Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council (2009). An emerging invasive is defined by them as: currently found in isolated, sparse populations but are rapidly expanding their range within the region.

Note Author: R. Klinkenberg June 2009


Ecological Framework for Buddleja davidii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
Slope Gradient (%)
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in:


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References