Are Buddleia Edible?

The Buddleia genus includes heaps of butterfly bush stones, which are characterized by dramatic sprays of sweet-smelling, tube-shaped flowers. The classic butterfly bush has spiky purple blossoms, but other species endure flowers in pink or red. The typical butterfly bush grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 9. They can help an edible garden as pollinators but don’t directly contribute nutrition for humans.

Edibility Options

As a group, butterfly bushes must be considered off limits as a food supply. They are not listed as common or emergency food sources at these databases as Purdue University’s Famine Foods project. Another online database, Plants for a Future, lists only one Buddleia species since somewhat creamy — an Asian species known as bai bei feng (Buddleia asiatica), which will be hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10. PFAF notes that the bush’s roots are used to make a fermented drink.

Toxicity Questions

Plants of this Buddleia genus are considered nontoxic if accidentally ingested by individuals, in accordance with California Poison Control’s website. On the other hand, the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service singles out Buddleia asiatica as poisonous — even though it was the sole Buddleia species listed as edible on the PFAF website. Given these mixed messages, then it is best to play it safe and prevent eating butterfly bush roots, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Other Uses

As you should not eat parts of the butterfly bush, the bush has its own place in the edible food garden. The shrub comes by its common name frankly, because its blossoms are famous for their ability to attract pollinating butterflies. While bees are the most efficient pollinators in regards to edible plants, butterflies can also be invaluable, especially in fruit and seed production. A bunch of butterfly bushes is a matching tall boundary close vegetable plots, herb gardens and orchards.

Alternative Edibles

If limited space makes it essential to set up an ornamental plant that is also creamy, choices to butterfly bush abound. Shrubs that produce edible berries are just one solution. For an especially versatile shrub, think about the elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), which rises in USDA zones 3 to 9 and bears showy, fragrant flowers you’ll be able to dip in batter and fry like pancakes, in addition to berries for jams and syrups. For plants that mimic the butterfly bush’s arching spikes of purple-blue flowers, seem to herbs using creamy flowers. These contain common hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), grown in USDA zones 4 to 9; anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8; and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), acceptable for USDA zones 5 to 8.

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