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Parrot's Feather

A popular aquatic garden plant that spreads with water currents, animals, boats/trailers and fishing gear. Dense stands can stagnate water, and increase breeding grounds for mosquitoes learn more »

Zebra/Quagga Mussels

These tiny freshwater mussels clog drains, damage infrastructure, and are very costly to control/eradicate learn more »

Giant Hogweed

A towering toxic invasive plant with WorkSafe BC regulations learn more »

European Fire Ant

A tiny ant with a toxic sting learn more »

Purple Loosestrife

An aggressive wetland invader that threatens plant and animal diversity learn more »

Orange Hawkweed

Also yellow, these invasive plants replace native vegetation along roadsides, and threaten areas not yet reforested learn more »

Japanese Knotweed

Grows aggressively through concrete, impacting roads and house foundations learn more »

Spotted Knapweed

A single plant spreads rapidly with up to 140,000 seeds per square metre learn more »

Scotch Broom

An evergreen shrub that invades rangelands, replaces forage plants, causes allergies in people, and is a serious competitor to conifer seedlings learn more »

Butterfly Bush

Species
Buddleja davidii

Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a deciduous to semi evergreen shrub that grows up to 5 m tall. Until only recently, this species was celebrated for its robust growth, fragrance and range of bloom colours, and often recommended for its ability to grow in poor soil and to attract butterflies. Unfortunately, the butterfly bush has escaped cultivation in southern BC and is now considered an invasive species. Spreading rapidly by windburn seed, butterfly bush displaces native vegetation in disturbed, open areas and along coastal forest edges, roadsides and especially on sunny steam sides and riverbanks.

Butterfly bush is a prolific seed producer; a single flower cluster can produce over 40,000 seeds. Seeds are dispersed by wind and water, and may remain dormant in the soil for many years. New plants can even establish from cuttings. These shrubs also alter the nitrogen and phosphorous amounts in the soil, giving it an advantage that displaces native species, particularly in riparian areas. In forests, it competes with Douglas-fir tree seedlings. 

Showy flowers of butterfly bush grow in long, spike-shaped clusters in a range of purple to light purple shades, with egg-shaped to lance-shaped leaves that grow to 25 cm long. 

Removal of butterfly bush is best when it first comes into flower but has not yet produced seeds. Small plants can be easily hand-pulled when the soil is moist. Remove larger 
bushes by cutting the plant at the base. Dig up the stump and cover it with a thick plastic bad, or mulch to prevent regeneration. Remove new shoots until the rootstock dies, and do not leave stems on the ground, or they may root. 

A few native and ornamental alternatives to use other than planting the butterfly bush include varieties such as; Lewis's Mock Orange, Red-flowering Currant, Black Chokeberry, Meyer Lilac or California Lilac. Read more about these alternatives in the Grow Me Instead booklet for BC.

Gallery: Butterfly Bush