Buddleja salvifolia in flower

Buddleja salvifolia
Common name: Sagewood, Quilted sage; Sotho: lelothane; Xhosa: igqange; Zulu: iloshane

Honey fragrance fills the heavy mid-winter air as all the Buddlejas come into flower, lifting your spirits on the chilliest of days.   Buddleja salviifolia is a semi-evergreen shrub with dark green wrinkled leaves which are whitish underneath.

This versatile and frost hardy shrub is common all over South Africa, reaching 4 m high in good conditions. Buddleja occurs naturally on forest margins to create a barrier to stop fires entering the forest and recovers quickly in spring after being burnt. Buddleja is also found along streams and on rocky outcrops in grassland, so does well in any garden.

Masses of small, sweetly scented, creamy white to mauve flowers attract butterflies and other insects, which in turn become food for insectivorous birds like the Southern Boubou and Cape Robin. Buddleja salvifolia is host to the Phalanta phalantha butterfly and the leaves are browsed by game.

The hard, yellowish wood is used for spear shafts and fishing rods and also to decorate reed fences around courtyards in rural Lesotho (Pooley, 2003).  The roots are believed to be very poisonous and used in witchcraft, while an infusion of leaves is used as eyewash and for colic. (Hutchings et al, 1996).

Certainly, all of the Buddleja family are excellent shrubs for a new garden where they provide protection as other plants establish themselves and encourage a range of wildlife.

Buddleja salvifolia

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower