|Buddleja alternifolia at Northcourt Gardens,|
Isle of Wight. 24 June, 2013
When on the Isle of Wight recently I visited the lovely private gardens at Northcourt, in the village of Shorwell. Buddleja alternifolia was growing particularly well, making a waterfall of lilac bloom on a steep slope.
The shrub has more delicate foliage than the coarser leaves of the common Buddleja davidii giving a more graceful overall effect.
|Buddleja alternifolia in greater detail.|
|Buddleja globosa, Niton, Isle of Wight.|
24 June, 2013
Buddleja davidii of course also commemorates the Basque explorer, missionary and naturalist, Father Armand David, known as Pere David, who first recorded it from China. This extraordinary man collected and described an enormous number of plants and animals and he seems to have been the first European to see a Giant Panda. To zoologists he is best remembered through Pere David's deer, which he helped to save from extinction. Botanically he lives on through the lovely shrub Rhododendron davidii and the Pocket Handkerchief Tree, Davidia involucrata, just two of many species named after him.
|A dark form of Buddleja davidii|
Byfield, 30 July, 2013
The Butterfly Bush, as B. davidii is often known, is now available in a range of colours from deep purple to almost a pure white. (The white form has a yellow centre, making the individual flowers look like tiny fried eggs.) Its original colour is a pale lilac and where the plant has escaped - as it has done on an enormous scale - seedlings soon revert to this shade. I was intrigued to notice, on a recent journey, that the sides of a road cutting near Newbury are covered with buddleia to the exclusion of almost anything else. Indeed, in some parts of the world it has been declared a noxious weed. All the three species mentioned occur with some regularity on waste ground but B. davidii is obviously the garden escapee par excellence.
The classification of the Buddleja genus, with about a hundred species, is confusing. For a long time they were placed, together with a few other genera, in their own family, the Buddlejaceae, but many botanists found this situation unsatisfactory and placed them in the Loganiaceae. However they are now generally regarded as belonging to the Scrophulariaceae. Surprisingly few of the species seem to be in general cultivation.