Buddleja × pikei H.R. Fletcher

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Andrew Large (2021)

Recommended citation
Large, A.T. (2021), 'Buddleja × pikei' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/buddleja/buddleja-x-pikei/). Accessed 2024-05-26.


Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
Mixed inflorescence in which main axis indeterminate but secondary axes determinate. thyrsoid In form of thyrse.


Andrew Large (2021)

Recommended citation
Large, A.T. (2021), 'Buddleja × pikei' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/buddleja/buddleja-x-pikei/). Accessed 2024-05-26.

B. caryopteridifolia × B. alternifolia. Shrub 1–3 m tall, spreading and arching. Branchlets stellate-tomentose, glabrescent. Leaves mostly opposite, on some branches alternate, or occasionally in whorls of three at a single node; upper leaf surface tomentose to glabrescent, undersides tomentose; lower leaves ovate to oblong, or nearly so, up to 15 × 7 cm, apex acute, base cuneate, margin irregularly lobed or toothed; leaves toward apex of lateral branches smaller, lanceolate, typically 5 × 2 cm. Inflorescence, up to 60 cm in length, terminal on main axis and on lateral branchlets, with linear bracts up 5 mm long, in clusters of flowers congested nearly as in B. alternifolia. Flowers intermediate between species; calyx up to 5 mm long, exterior stellate-tomentose; corolla pale lilac to pink with an orange throat, diameter 7.5–10 mm; corolla tube 8–10 mm long, 1–1.5 mm wide, exterior pubescent; ovary stellate-tomentose; stamens sited in the middle of corolla tube. (Fletcher 1954).

USDA Hardiness Zone 6-9

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

A hybrid of garden origin raised at Hever Castle Gardens, Kent, UK in the early 1950s by the eponymous head gardener Mr A.V. Pike. Although published as a hybrid of B. caryopteridifolia and B. alternifolia, it is debatable whether the seed parent was B. caryopteridifolia, which is rare in cultivation and is a name that has been misapplied to several other species (Cotton 1947; pers, obs., see B. caryopteridifolia for further discussion); however, Fletcher (1954) makes a convincing argument for B. caryopteridifolia.

The best seedling from the cross was selected for release and named ‘Hever’, and was awarded the RHS Award of Merit in 1954, although it is no longer holds this accolade. Contrary to Stuart (2006), ‘Hever’ is the only known cultivar (Fletcher 1954). It was introduced to the USA and patented in 1958 (US PP001727) simply as B. × pikei, and remains in cultivation on both sides of the Atlantic, although it’s relatively uncommon.

B. × pikei ‘Hever’ is a large arching shrub up to 3 m height. The leaves are grey when young, becoming darker green as they age and shed their hairs. The lower leaves on the branches are larger than the ones towards the ends, which resemble more the size and shape of B. alternifolia foliage. The inflorescences are long, made up of clusters of flowers along the branch, often with a terminal thyrse, and are intermediate between the parent species; the inflorescences are carried on the current year’s growth and appear in the summer months. The flowers are pink-lilac with a distinct yellow-orange centre, and are fragrant. It is reportedly self-fertile. As a summer-flowering Buddleia B. × pikei ‘Hever’ can be hard pruned in the spring, after which it will grow back strongly. Hardy due its B. alternifolia parentage, it prefers a free-draining soil and full sun (Fletcher 1954).


Synonyms / alternative names
Buddleja × pikei 'Hever Castle'

Discussed in the account for Buddleja × pikei.