What Butterfly Bush?

Home Depot Buddleia
Volunteer Buddleia
Volunteer Buddleia

You know you’re obsessed with bees when you buy a Butterfly Bush (or Buddleia) because there are gigantic bees buzzing all over it. Meanwhile, there was a plant sprouting in my yard that I half-knew what it was but couldn’t quite name it, until I plunked down the storebought Buddleia.

I took one look and thought, Wait a second. The shape of that flower spike looks awfully familiar. And the color of those first few flowers. I had a volunteer Buddleia. It’s like when you’re looking for a book, and the surest way to find it is to buy another copy. Except I didn’t know I already had one.

And would the volunteer attract as many bees?

Ginormous bumblebee on buddleia
Ginormous bumblebee on volunteer Buddleia

Yes! Biggest Bumblebee ever!

Giant bumble and honeybee on Buddleia

As an attempt to show you the scale of these buzz bombers, here’s a honeybee and a Bombus Grande sharing space on the storebought flower.

Butterfly nowhere near the butterfly bush
Butterfly nowhere near the butterfly bush

I haven’t seen a whole lot of butterflies, though. The occasional solitary monarch has flitted through, too fast for capture. The cabbage whites. And this character. None of them have come anywhere near the so-called butterfly bush.


Update: Mr. Giant Bumble is a Eastern Carpenter bee.


4 thoughts on “What Butterfly Bush?

  1. When Bill & I vacationed in Woodstock VT we stopped in a general store that had a case with honey bees working away. They entered from some outside hole and came and went as they wanted. I took a picture with my cell phone and if I ever get it unloaded I will send it out. My lemon-scented roses are blooming beautifully this August but when I lean in to smell them, I find bees resting there! I leave them alone, as you have given me a new respect for the work they do — and I wouldn’t want them to get mad, either.

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