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In the summertime we encounter the buddleia on embankments, on abandoned factory sites or along isolated railway tracks. Its most beautiful varieties are used in parks and ornamental gardens. Its frequency rightly raises the question of how poisonous the butterfly bush is to humans and animals. Read the answer here.

A pleasure for butterflies, slightly poisonous for humans

Slightly toxic to humans and animals

With its alluring scent, the butterfly bush announces its presence from afar during its flowering period. If you follow the scent, you will encounter a flowering shrub up to 300 cm tall with large, purple or white panicles. The Buddleja davidii owes its name to the attraction that its nectar-rich flowers exert on butterflies. Of course, the magnificent appearance belies the following toxic ingredients:

  • The glycosides catapol and aucubin
  • Various saponins

These substances cause mild to moderate symptoms of poisoning after intentional or unintentional consumption. The highest concentration is in leaves and seeds. Children and pets are particularly at risk. Therefore, do not leave small children unattended near Buddleia. Do not use the leaves as green fodder for rabbits and guinea pigs.

Do not dispose of clippings on pasture

Since a butterfly bush is cut back to 20 cm in spring, there is always a large amount of clippings. Please do not dispose of leftovers on a cattle or horse pasture. If the animals consume a large amount of leaves and seeds, symptoms of poisoning are inevitable. The clippings should only be put on the compost if no animals can lay hands on them.


The slightly poisonous content of the seeds is another argument for cleaning up wilted flowers on the butterfly bush as soon as possible. In this way, you prevent the growth of the toxic capsule fruits and invasive spread through self-seeding in one operation.

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