Buddleja araucana Phil.

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Andrew Large (2021)

Recommended citation
Large, A.T. (2021), 'Buddleja araucana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/buddleja/buddleja-araucana/). Accessed 2024-05-29.


  • Buddleja globosa var. araucana (Phil.) Reiche
  • Buddleja nappii Lorentz


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
With only male or only hermaphrodite flowers on individual plants.
Leaf stalk.
Female referring to female plants (dioecy) or flowers (monoecy) or the female parts of a hermaphrodite flower.
Small grains that contain the male reproductive cells. Produced in the anther.
Male referring to male plants (dioecy) or flowers (monoecy) or the male parts of a hermaphrodite flower.
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.
Dense layer of soft hairs. tomentose With tomentum.
(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


Andrew Large (2021)

Recommended citation
Large, A.T. (2021), 'Buddleja araucana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/buddleja/buddleja-araucana/). Accessed 2024-05-29.

Dioecious shrub, 1–3 m tall, with grey fissured bark; branchlets terete and tomentose. Leaves sessile with conspicuous stipular line, blades linear to lanceolate, 3–9 × 0.8–2 cm, coriaceous, tomentose on both surfaces, apex acuminate, base connate, margin crenulate or subentire. Inflorescence one terminal head with 1–4 pairs of pedunculate heads, peduncles 0.5–5 cm long, each head 1–2 cm in diameter with 25–35 flowers. Calyx tubular and tomentose outside, 3–4 mm long, lobes tomentose 0.7–1.5 mm. Corolla orange, tomentulose outside, warty hairs in upper part of the tube, tube 4–5 mm long, orbicular lobes 2–2.5 mm. Stamens sessile, inserted just below the throat, anthers 1–1.2 mm. Ovary tomentose, 1.5–2 mm long, style 1.7–2 mm in length, stigma clavate, 1–1.5 mm long. Capsule oblong ovoid, 4–6 × 2–2.5 mm with glandular hairs, stellate tomentose on upper half. Seeds oblong, with small wings, 1.1–1.4 mm × 0.4–0.5 mm. (Norman 2000).

Distribution  Argentina South Mendoza, Rio Negro, Neuquen Chile

Habitat Semi-desert and rocky steppes.

USDA Hardiness Zone 6-9

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Taxonomic note Buddleja araucana is very similar B. globosa, so much so it was at one point reduced to a variety of B. globosa (Reiche 1911) and is still occasionally considered a synonym. However, in the most recent revision of Neotropical Buddleja (Norman 2000) it is treated as a separate species. This species is frequently still labelled with its former name of Buddleja nappii.

Buddleja araucana is closely related to B. globosa and likewise has inflorescences of 5–9 ‘balls’ made up of tightly packed orange flowers, about 2 cm in diameter, which appear in late spring or early summer. It differs mostly in its leaves, which are narrower and have tan-coloured tomentum on the under surface and petiole (Stuart 2006). The individual flowers are slightly different from B. globosa, being of a more intense colour; the flower buds and calyx are more conspicuously tomentose (often tan-coppery in colour) and the unopened flower buds more bullet-shaped. In common with B. globosa and with most New World Buddleia the species is dioecious, with separate male and female plants producing staminate and pistillate flowers respectively; pistillate (female) flowers can be identified by close examination of the stamens, which are are withered and shed no pollen. The plant in the horticultural trade and in UK national collections is probably male, and hence sets no seed; although no natural hybrids/intermediates have been reported from the wild (Norman, pers. comm.) this plant hybridises readily with (female) B. globosa in gardens. The resulting progeny are fertile and intermediate between the parent species; the hybrids are only subtly different from the parents, mostly in the flowers: generally the buds and calyx are less tomentose than B. araucana but more so than B. globosa (pers. obs.).

Although hailing from arid, semi-desert areas of Argentina and Chile, B. araucana thrives in temperate gardens, is hardy to –20°C and tolerant of many different soil conditions, except regularly waterlogged soils. It will grow into a large, evergreen shrub, but is perhaps slightly less vigorous than B. globosa (Stuart 2006). A plant descended from a collection made in 1925 by Harold Comber in Salta Province, north west Argentina (Comber 214) persists in cultivation at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (T. Christian pers. comm. 2020).