Gavin Weightman responds to a column by Adrian Chiles about buddleia

The butterfly bush thrives in London | Letter | Environment
A Camberwell beauty butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) on a buddleia flower. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

So Adrian Chiles (G2, 4 April) has noticed buddleia bushes growing out of derelict buildings and judges them to signify industrial neglect. He suggests the plant does not grow so much in London because land is too expensive. In fact buddleia grows everywhere in London, sprouting from the tops of many buildings that are not abandoned and forming great thickets along railway lines. It is also a prized garden plant, attracting a great variety of insects, and is commonly called “the butterfly bush”. And though it is from China and was brought to Europe by a Frenchman, Linnaeus named it after the Rev Adam Buddle of Hadleigh rectory, Essex, in honour of observations he had made of local plants. Buddle never saw the butterfly bush, as he died more than a century before it was introduced in the last decade of Victoria’s reign.
Gavin Weightman

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