Friday, February 12, 2010


English ivy and butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) have been outlawed in Oregon. Will this irritate some folks? I imagine. I’ve been stuck in traffic and found my eyes wandering to the tall trees along side the road, only to note their trucks are completely covered with English ivy. The same with the Buddleja, there is an empty lot near my home that is only empty of buildings…it is completely filled with the butterfly bush, it really is amazing.

The official AP announcement…..

2/10/2010, 12:48 p.m. PST, The Associated Press
SALEM, Ore. - English ivy and butterfly bush will soon be outlaws in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that it is adding them to the state list of noxious weeds. That means they cannot be grown, sold or transported, even in floral arrangements.

The ban is effective immediately for butterfly bush but takes effect June 1 for English ivy.

The reason is that they regularly escape gardens and even indoor settings and go wild in the woods, where they can harm natural habitats.

Sterile varieties of butterfly bush that give off little or no seed, are allowed.


  1. Hedera canariensis...your next? The days are numbered. I know the ivy here in Golden Gate park in the "free range?" is a little out of control...but I think more to do with funding to care for it. Matti

  2. good luck with that. Chinese lantern has been banned from sales since we moved here twelve years ago & they still sell it in the grocery store, Home Depot etc.

  3. Wow! Does that apply to existing plants, do you have to remove them or can you be cited if not? I have a big old butterfly bush in my backyard, I didn't plant it and it took me hours upon hours to just prune it back last winter. It's in a hard-to-get-to space in a rockery and I have no idea how I would get it out. It did send a seed across the yard once and a 7 ft. tall plant managed to grow from it in a tiny flowerpot before I even noticed it. So, probably a good idea, the ban, but I'm curious about what the gardener is to do about existing plants. Will you fill us in if you know or find out? I want to do the right thing!

  4. This cracks me up, Loree. Another blogger just wrote about this and despite the indisputable press release, I'm rolling my eyes. I worked at a nursery in 2003 and by law we couldn't sell English ivy and I've never seen it for sale at any nursery since. There are variegated and needle-leafed types but none of the species. And many of the "upscale" nurseries I know of ceased selling Buddleias of any kind last year.

    These laws are not retroactive and none of us need to hail the shovels. It's been my experience that the state watchdogs are pretty good about screening incoming plant shipments. They've been on the lookout for Amillaria [oak] root rot to much success.

    I wonder what's next.

  5. I wish Washington state would do the same.


  6. I am hoping that the publicity will have some effect. English ivy is such an effective groundcover that I can see how it would be hard for many to sacrifice it, and it is hell to dig out once established. I wonder how this will effect the many banks along public thoroughfares covered with the stuff. We live at the edge of Forest Park, so have been hearing about and seeing the damage for some time. Ivy pulling parties are a regular occurrance.

  7. faroutflora, here in Portland there are frequent ivy-pulling parties where volunteers head out to a designated area and literally pull the ivy from the trees and ground. Perhaps SF needs something similar?

    mb, yes I figured this was the case. Maybe more of a point being made then actually enforceable legislation?

    Karen, being in Seattle I'm sure your safe, but I'll let you know if I hear otherwise. Can you just imagine if the butterfly bush police started going around town tearing out plants and arresting people. oh my!

    Grace, we heard from a couple of nurseries in California (when we were there last fall) that we might have trouble bringing plant material back into Oregon...on their advice I actually dumped all the soil from the containers and washed the roots before we headed home. And the joke was on me as there wasn't even a stop at the border!

    Deirdre, being a former Washingtonian I can say that Oregon is WAY more strict about plant material than Washington, except for that whole apple maggot thing.

    ricki, I think that is exactly what the aim is, publicity. After all they aren't really going to arrest people are they?

  8. It seems kind of unfair to outlaw butterfly bush for the whole state. On the eastside of the PNW states (like in Spokane) a hard winter will kill off the plant (like mine last year) and works equally well to reduce spreading. I'm planning on getting a replacement (from a relative) for my butterfly bush. The ivy I could do without though (and bishops weed).


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