Buddleja davidii Franch.

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English Butterfly-bush, summer lilac Status LU: established. 1st record: LU & ITW 1961.
Lëtzebuergesch Päiperlekstrausch Status Eur.: established. 1st record: FR 1893.
Français Buddleia de David RA: ISEIA: C2. Harmonia+: 0,41
Deutsch Schmetterlingsflieder, -strauch Wikipedia: Wikipedia - English - Butterfly-bush Wikipedia - Français - Buddleia de David Wikipedia - Deutsch - Schmetterlingsstrauch Wikipedia - Nederlands - Vlinderstruik | Wikispecies: Wikispecies - Buddleja davidii | CABI
Nederlands Vlinderstruik Back to the list of neophytes

Report the species

Report Buddleja davidii to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

Buddleja davidii Franch. is a shade-intolerant woody melliferous species. The deciduous shrub mostly thrives in various ruderal areas and disturbed grounds, which it colonises rapidly, but also grows in warm semi-natural habitats with well-drained soils like gravel shores, rock outcrops or open woodlands. Climate change is likely to trigger higher invasiveness in Europe during the next decades (Branquart et al. 2010). It often blooms as soon as it reaches a few tens of centimetres in height (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 535).

Buddleja davidii was introduced as a horticultural plant to Europe in the 1890ies and naturalized on a significant scale in the 1930s in parts of Europe, after the destruction of cities during World War II. Bombed sites and building rubble were suitable colonization habitats and therefore dense B. davidii thickets established on these sites. In the 1950s and 1960s, B. davidii became a popular garden shrub, which further contributed to its spread when it escaped from cultivation and naturalized in the wild (CABI 2019).

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Records of Buddleja davidii Franch. in Luxembourg. Data source: Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2024-06-25.

In Luxembourg, Buddleja was first documented in the wild by Léopold Reichling on 1961-05-02 in Luxembourg City (Grund, Verluerekascht). As only one species of Buddleja occurs in the territory of the Flore (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 535), we can assume that Reichling reported Buddleja davidii. In the following year, Reichling found summer lilac on 1962-06-06 near Schleifmuehle upstream from Medernach.

The next observation in the wild was reported by Gérard Schmidt on 1993-08-05 in the gravel quarries of Remerschen near Wintrange, Municipality of Schengen (Schmidt 1993; MNHNL 2000-). More than 140 observations of the butterfly-bush are documented in the data portal of the Museum (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2020).

Summer lilac is widely cultivated in gardens across Luxembourg, from where it can easily make its way into the wild. The distribution map for Luxembourg shows that the species occurs most frequently in the south of the country, while less observations of Buddleja davidii in the wild exist for the Oesling.

A survey along the national railway network of Luxembourg revealed that summer lilac is spreading along the railway tracks in the South West of the country and in the Moselle valley (Pfeiffenschneider et al. 2014a).

Buddleja davidii has been spreading continuously in recent years, especially in urban environments, on rocks and railways (Krippel et al. 2018: 60-61). The butterfly-bush is still expanding its distribution area and increasingly found in urban wastelands (Krippel et al. 2020: 34).

The first observation of this species in its subspontaneous state in Belgium and northern France dates back to 1940. It spread mainly from the 1970s onwards (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 535).

An identification sheet of the species has been published by the MECDD in French and German.

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

C2 (2+2+2+2) (Ries et al. 2013: 18).

Harmonia+ protocol

Overall risk score 0,41 = (Overall Invasion score 0,81 x Overall Impact score 0,50) (Ries et al. 2020).


Worldwide distribution


  • Branquart, E., S. Vanderhoeven, W. Van Landuyt, F. Van Rossum, F. Verloove, 2010. Harmonia database:Buddleja davidii Franch. Harmonia version 1.2, Belgian Forum on Invasive Species. URL: http://ias.biodiversity.be [accessed on 2019-10-02]
  • CABI, 2019. Buddleja davidii. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. URL: www.cabi.org/isc [accessed 2021-02-26]
  • Krippel, Y., T. Helminger & G. Colling, 2018. Notes floristiques. Observations faites au Luxembourg (2016-2017). Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 120: 57-76. [PDF 265 KB]
  • Krippel, Y., T. Helminger & G. Colling, 2020. Notes floristiques. Observations faites au Luxembourg (2018-2019). Bulletin Soc. Nat. luxemb. 122 : 29-55. [PDF 132 KB]
  • Lambinon J. & F. Verloove, 2012. Nouvelle flore de la Belgique, du grand-duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines. Sixième édition. Avec la collaboration de L. Delvosalle, B. Toussaint, D. Geerinck, I. Hoste, F. Van Rossum, B. Cornier, R. Schumacker, A. Vanderpoorten et H. Vannerom. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise. CXXXIX + 1195 pp. ISBN : 9789072619884.
  • MNHNL, 2000-. Buddleja davidii Franch. in Recorder-Lux, database on the natural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2020-01-12]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. Buddleja davidii Franch. in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-09-06]
  • Pfeiffenschneider, M., P. Gräser & C. Ries, 2014a. Distribution of selected neophytes along the national railway network of Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 115: 95-100. [PDF 1457 KB]
  • Pfeiffenschneider, M., P. Gräser & C. Ries, 2014b. Distribution of selected neophytes along the main rivers of Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 115: 101-108. [PDF 3668 KB]
  • Ries, C. & Y. Krippel, 2021. First records of 56 invasive alien vascular plants in Luxembourg. Bulletin de la Société des naturalistes luxembourgeois 123: 115-127. [PDF 241 KB]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel & M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2020. Risk assessment after the Harmonia+ protocol of invasive alien vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 122: 197-205. [PDF 132 KB]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel, M. Pfeiffenschneider & S. Schneider, 2013. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of non-native vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 114: 15-21. [PDF 652 KB]
  • Schmidt, G., 1993. Fiches de terrain, cartographie des biotopes de la commune de Remerschen. Fondation Oeko-Fonds, Luxembourg. Non published document.

 Page content last updated on 2023-08-17.