Buddleja davidii


Also known as:

Buddleja, butterfly bush

Family: Buddlejaceae

Origin: China

A long branch with small buddleia flowers along the tip.
Buddleia flowers are purple/white/pink and grow in cone shapped clusters.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Semi-deciduous shrub < 3 m tall. Leaves are < 20 x 8 cm. Flowers are small, purple/pink/white and borne in conical clusters in December – April.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell buddleia within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant buddleia within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any buddleia on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Disturbed habitats, riparian and forest margins, riverbeds, landslides, cliffs, regenerating forest, plantations, roadsides, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by wind and water. Vegetative spread from suckering. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

Forms dense thickets, displaces co-occurring species and alters vegetation composition and succession.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Check for the presence of agents:

Buddleia leaf beetle (Cleopus japonicus).

For more information about how biocontrol works, see What is biocontrol?

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with glyphosate gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 100ml glyphosate green per 1L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A branch of buddleia flowers with half of them dried out.
The buddleia has both hairy leaves and stems.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow