Long before butterflies came, the butterfly bushes were present in many parts of the world. When man came, he watched butterflies being attracted by the bushes, like iron chips to a magnet. He named the bushes after the butterfly in appreciation of the colors and smell of the blossoms.
Today all those who love gardening and those especially interested in butterflies cultivate these bushes.
Called Buddleja, the butterfly bushes are a group of flowering plants. The leaves are lancet shaped and the bushes grow up to a height between 5 and 10 feet. Clusters of blossoms that are lilac like spread strong and pleasant scent. Their nectar is very sweet during midday sun. Large numbers of butterflies come for their nectar meal. Fritillaries, Tortoise shells, Swallowtails flutter their wings over the bushes adding color and beauty to the bushes.
The butterfly bushes are native to United States, south of Chile, widely in Africa and certain parts of Asia. They were introduced into Europe and Australia much later and thus got spread all over the world.
There are more than 100 species of butterfly bush, with flowers of almost all colors and hues, white, pink, red, purple, orange, yellow and so on. It is because of this color variety, the butterfly bushes are the most popular garden plants. The best species for cultivation are Buddleja davidii, B.globosa and B.alterniflora. These species are known for their characteristic blossoms, strong scents and rich nectar. They attract, humming birds, bees and butterflies.
The bushes are easy to grow. They grow conveniently on medium wet, well- drained soil and under bright sun. They tolerate drought conditions. The best flowering season begins in June and continues up to fall. This is the time when butterflies emerge from their cocoons.
The butterfly bush is named after Reverend Adam Buddle, a Botanist who lived in the 17th century. The plant was introduced in England in 1774.
The butterfly bush is different from the butterfly weed, which is a milkweed. The milkweed is the host plant of the Monarch butterfly. Though both plants are referred to as butterfly plants, the two are not related to each other. Unlike the butterfly weed, the butterfly bushes are diverse shrubs and hedges commonly known to all butterfly lovers as Adonis blue, Black knight, Peacock, Pink delight, white bouquet, claret purple and so on.