Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a member of the figwort Family, Scrophulariaceae, and is a small deciduous shrub (3-15 feet tall) with arching stems. Native to China, it grows as thickets on mountain slopes, disturbed outcrops, rocky stream beds, and forest clearings. Brought over via the ornamental trade, butterfly bush has escaped gardens and has been naturalized in the eastern United States.
Butterfly bush is a rapidly growing, drought-tolerant shrub, easily identified by its bushy habit, arching stems, showy/ fragrant flowers, and vigorous growth. Flowers are densely clustered in cone-shaped panicles, with colors ranging from purple to white or pink, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Although butterflies use this plant as a nectar source, their larvae cannot survive on it. By replacing native larval food sources, butterfly bush can have a negative impact on wildlife. In North Carolina, it has been observed in the Mountains and the Piedmont.
Fact Sheet: Butterfly Bush