Buddleja davidii

Common Name(s)




Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Terrestrial. Occurs in Lowland sites with low-moderate fertility (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Colonises new, coarse-textured, nitrogen deficient surfaces (Smale 1990). Colonises stable habitats (Kay & Smale 1990). Thrives on free-draining pumice soils of the central north island (Mike Harre, pers comm.) Found in scrub and forest margins, cliffs, bluffs and riverbeds (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Colonises alluvial sites (Smale 1990).Very invasive of forest margins and revegetation areas (Porteus 1993). The plant is invasive of waste spaces, river beds and plantation forests especially following land disturbance i.e. forest harvesting (Golden Bay Gazette, 27/12/96).


Deciduous (occasionally semi-evergreen) open, multi-stemmed shrub to 3+ m tall. Stems bluntly angled, clad in tufts of easily-removed soft woolly hair (tomentos when young), becoming lax when long. Leaves willow-shaped, 6-20 x 3-8 cm, thin, usually hairless above, white or grey tomentose below, finely toothed. Flowerhead a distinctive, dense, cone-shaped panicle 30 x 5 cm with many flowers; each 5 mm diam, fragrant, purple or white, orange inside, Dec- Feb. Seed capsule 5-10 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Is very similar vegetatively to other Buddleja species, but can be easily separated by the distinctive cone-shaped flowerheads when flowering.


December, January, February, March, April

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White

Year Naturalised




Reason For Introduction

Life Cycle Comments

The plant reproduces vegetatively through regeneration from suckers (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Can survive burial to 0.5m of fine alluvium by producing adventitious roots and shoots on buried or flattened stems (Smale 1990).

Seed is produced in vast amounts (Smale 1990; Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Approx 3 million on an average plant (Patterson, per comm.) Seed viability is initially high (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Seed is dispersed by wind and water (Smale 1990; Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Highly tolerant to drought, intolerant to shade (Seedlings require high light)and slightly tolerant to poor drainage. Wide range of soil conditions (grows on almost raw lava in NZ), frost to -15 deg C (regenerates if cut down by frost). Regrows vigorously from cut stumps.

This page last updated on 5 May 2011