By landing where it did, this butterfly called my attention to the subject of noxious weeds. For a “noxious weed” is what, 14 years ago, the Oregon Department of Agriculture declared this flowering bush to be.
We are looking at a butterfly bush, or Buddleia davidii, in a West Albany yard. The Ag Department listed the species as a noxious weed in 2004 and reiterated its assessment in 2016.
“If you planted your butterfly bush before it was listed (2004),” the agency says, “you do not have to remove it, but you are required to prevent it from propagating. You must deadhead the plant after blooming to prevent the seeds from spreading.”
“Required …, must …”? Do people know this? If they know it, have they actually done so?
Buddleia davidii is said to be native to China and Japan. Because its flowers look nice and attract butterflies, people like it, and the plant has spread in Europe and on the American coasts, among other places around the world. It readily establishes itself in disturbed soil such as along roadsides and riverbeds.
As far as gardens are concerned, the problem seems to be that while the flowers provide ample nectar, the plants tend to displace other types of vegetation that butterfly larvae need for nourishment. And when the larvae disappear, certain bird species vanish too.
The state has approved the sale of a number of sterile Buddleia cultivars. But the one in the photo, planted long before the 2004 listing, looks like the online photos of the invasive kind.
You can find out all there is to know about what Oregon says about butterfly bushes on the Ag Department’s website here. And then, if you have one of these bushes in your yard, better get ready to chop off the flowers when the time comes. (hh)