Chinese sagewood

Chinese sagewood

Buddleja davidii

Common Name:

Chinese sagewood

Scientific Name:

Buddleja davidii

Alternative common names:

Summer lilac, butterfly bush or orange eye. 


Chinese sagewood is most vigorous in well-drained soil and full sun. It can tolerate drought and low nutrient soil and can grow in very challenging conditions, such as cracks in the pavement and along railroads. Seeds require exposed soil to germinate successfully and seedlings are not often seen in improved garden soils or well-maintained landscapes.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

It is native to Central China and Japan.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA - Category 3.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape.

How does it spread?

It spreads profusely by seed into disturbed and natural areas. It is widely established as a result of escaping from cultivation.

Why is it a problem?

Chinese sagewood colonises disturbed areas such as riversides, roadsides, railroads, pastures and recently logged or burned forests. It is problematic along riversides because it forms dense thickets, crowds out native vegetation and disrupts natural succession patterns.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Dark green and shiny above, white downy below, margins slightly toothed, blade lance-shaped, 100-300mm long, petiole 2-5mm long.

Flowers: White to lilac-purple with orange-yellow throat, tubular, 8-14mm long, in dense terminal inflorescences 120-200mm long, sweetly scented, summer to autumn.

Fruit/seeds: Brown capsule, 5-10mm long, contains many tiny seeds.

Does the plant have any uses?

Used as an ornamental plant.

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