Red Admiral on Buddleia

Red Admiral on Buddleia - ©Amy Lewis


Scientific name: Buddleja davidii
Buddleia is a familiar shrub, well-known for its attractiveness to butterflies. It is actually an introduced species, however, that has become naturalised on waste ground, railway cuttings and in towns.

Species information


Height: up to 4m

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species.

When to see

January to December


Buddleia is a popular garden plant that was introduced into the UK from China in the 1890s and has now become widely naturalised on waste ground, along railway cuttings and in urban areas. Its familiar purple flowers bloom from June to October and attract all kinds of butterflies and moths looking for nectar sources. Its winged seeds are dispersed by the wind and find it easy to colonise stony ground.

How to identify

Buddleia is a very familiar bush, with large, drooping spikes of densely clustered, small, purple (or sometimes white) flowers. It has long, narrow leaves and the flowers have a honey-like fragrance.


Widespread, except in the far north.

Did you know?

Buddleia is also known as the 'butterfly bush', because it is such a popular nectar source in gardens. Eminent naturalist, Richard Mabey, reported regularly seeing 'more than 50 individuals of up to ten species together on a single bush' in his own garden in August.