The Bugwood Network

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

Swearingen, J., K. Reshetiloff, B. Slattery, and S. Zwicker. 2002. Plant Invaders of
Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 82 pp.

Butterfly Bush
Britt Slattery, USFWS
Butterfly Bush
Buddleja species

Butterfly bush species from Asia and Central America are popular ornamental plants widely used to attract butterflies. There are more than 100 species of Buddleja worldwide and additional cultivars are being developed. Buddleja species are currently found throughout the eastern, southern and western states. Butterfly bush can escape from plantings and become invasive in a variety of natural habitats such as coastal forest edges, roadsides, abandoned railroads, rural dumps, stream and river banks and some disturbed habitats. Buddleja displace native plants. It spreads by seed that is produced in abundance and dispersed by the wind.

Prevention and Control
On isolated ornamental shrubs, cut off fading flowers before seed forms. Hand weed young plants or use a glyphosate herbicide. However, disturbance caused by removal often results in new plants. To achieve total removal, it is best to ensure a rapid ground cover of a non-invasive species, which will prevent butterfly bush from re-establishing.

Native Alternatives
butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), blazing star (Liatris spicata), New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)

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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQThe Bugwood Network University of Georgia Bargeron, C.T., D.J. Moorhead, G.K. Douce, R.C. Reardon & A.E. Miller
(Tech. Coordinators). 2003. Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.:
Identification and Control. USDA Forest Service - Forest Health
Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, WV USA. FHTET-2003-08.