Butterfly bush may be designated a Class B noxious weed in the San Juan Islands

Proposed changes to the state's Noxious Weed list includes designating Butterfly Bush as a Class B noxious weed in San Juan County. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board (WSNWCB) meets November 6 in Wenatchee. Information on the public hearing and various ways to comment are at the end of the article. 

Butterfly bush.


Proposed Class B designation changes to the 2019 state noxious weed list:

The WSNWCB  will be considering the following designation changes to these Class B noxious weeds:

· Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa): undesignate in Cowlitz County; designate in Pacific and Snohomish counties

· Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii): designate in San Juan and Grays Harbor counties

· Camelthorn (Alhagi maurorum): designate in Walla Walla County

· Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica ssp. dalmatica): designate in Cowlitz, Kittitas, and Franklin counties

· Diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa): designate in Mason County

· Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum): undesignate in Cowlitz County and designate in Mason County and Kittitas County except for the Columbia River · European coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara): designate in Adams, Lincoln, Benton, and Franklin counties

· Fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana): designate in Grays Harbor County

· Grass-leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea): designate in Mason County

· Hairy willow-herb (Epilobium hirsutum): designate in Walla Walla County

· Hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana): undesignate in Ferry and Spokane counties

· Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale): designate in Douglas and Franklin counties

· Indigobush (Amorpha fruticosa): undesignate in Skamania County

· Nonnative hawkweed species and hybrids, wall subgenus (Hieracium): undesignate in Skamania and Clark counties

· Nonnative hawkweed species and hybrids, meadow subgenus (Pilosella): undesignate in Skamania County and designate in Ferry County

· Meadow knapweed (Centaurea x moncktonii): undesignate in Skamania and Clark counties

· Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria): designate in Mason County

· Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe): undesignate in Skamania and Clark counties

· Shiny geranium (Geranium lucidum): undesignate in Skamania County

The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board (WSNWCB) will hold a public hearing on from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at the The Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel, 201 N Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee to take comments on proposed rule-making changes to the 2019 state noxious weed list. This year the changes proposed consist primarily of changes to Class B noxious weed designations.


How to comment:

· Mail written testimony to: WSNWCB; P.O. Box 42560; Olympia, WA 98504-2560.

· Send comments by email to noxiousweeds@agr.wa.gov.

· Attend the public hearing to provide written or verbal testimony in person.

Written testimony should be submitted by 5 p.m. Monday, November 5, 2018 or brought to the public hearing on November 6. At the hearing, verbal testimony will be limited to three minutes per person, with an additional opportunity to speak if time allows.

At the same location, the WSNWCB will vote on the proposed rule changes during its regular board meeting, which will be held the next day, Wednesday November 7, beginning at 9:00 a.m. This meeting is also open to the public.

Additionally the WSNWCB will consider updating the scientific name of five noxious weeds, specifically,

kochia: Kochia scoparia to Bassia scoparia;

leafy spurge: Euphorbia esula to Euphorbia virgata;

Himalayan knotweed: Polygonum polystachyum to Persicaria wallichii;

Russian knapweed: Acroptilon repens to Rhaponticum repens;

tansy ragwort: Senecio jacobaea to Jacobaea vulgaris.

Visit https://www.nwcb.wa.gov/whats-new for more information about these listing proposals and other noxious weeds.


  • Jason Ontjes Tuesday, 23 October 2018 15:41 Comment Link

    I agree with the previous comment made on October 10 2018 regarding the San Juan Islander's article on butterfly bush: it is weird. But that is because the title of the article is quite misleading. Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is already listed as a Class B noxious weed in Washington State and San Juan County, as of 2008 (originally listed as Class C in 2005). It is also on the state's quarantine list (WAC 16-752), which means it is prohibited to transport, buy, sell, offer for sale or distribute B. davidii unless it is an approved sterile cultivar or a cross with another species. Fortunately, the plant nursery trade is beginning to offer more of these non-invasive alternatives.

    San Juan County's Noxious Weed Control Board decided at a public hearing in 2017 to select butterfly bush for control, which means that property owners with B. davidii are responsible for preventing all seed production and dispersal of propagative parts capable of forming new plants, either within the parcel or beyond to neighboring parcels (RCW 17.10.140). What this means for the typical gardener is that you should dead-head Buddleja davidii flowers before they set seed, and dig up any seedlings or new plants you find and dispose of them with your trash. Fortunately, San Juan County has few known infestations for butterfly bush, which was the motivation for the State Noxious Weed Board to propose it as a Class B-designate in our county. It is simply much simpler to control a weed if there are few to start with.

    As stated in WAC 16-750-003, a "Class B designate" is defined as "those Class B noxious weeds whose populations in a region or area are such that all seed production can be prevented in a calendar year." I believe that is an achievable goal, given that butterfly bush is still perceived to be fairly limited in its distribution in San Juan County. The proposed change to the state weed list that the State Weed Board is considering is whether to designate Class B butterfly bush for control, as defined above, though it already is selected for control by our county weed board. Citizens of San Juan County can submit comments for or against this proposal to the State Weed Board, as stated in the article.

    Butterfly bush most certainly provides nectar for butterflies and a number of other species, but it has several recognized drawbacks. First, it does not provide any forage value to larvae of native butterfly species, according to the April 2006 written findings of the State Noxious Weed Board. Because of its aggressive tendency to colonize riparian areas, gravel or sand bars, abandoned lots, railroad right-of-ways and roadsides, it can potentially displace native plant species that are important to native butterflies, particularly willows. Several counties in Washington (Skagit, King, Island, Whatcom, Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, Cowlitz, Clark) currently suffer from butterfly bush populations that escaped cultivation. It has also invaded other countries, notably New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain, where the Chinese native was considered "one of the top 20 invasive species", according to a 2001 paper cited by the State Weed Board. Butterfly bush can also potentially suppress tree seedlings, as demonstrated in New Zealand on Pinus radiata forest stands.

    Do not despair if you already have a butterfly bush growing in your yard. Just be wary of its potential to spread beyond your garden, and if you do see it getting away from you, just pull or dig up new plants for disposal (in your garbage or burn if permitted), and be sure to dead-head those spent flowers before they set seed (up to 3 million per plant!). If you'd like our assistance, the staff of the County Noxious Weed Control Program would be glad to help. We can be contacted by phone, 360-376-3499, or email (jasono@sanjuanco.com). We can also offer suitable alternatives to butterfly bush if you do want to remove them. The state recommends California lilac, chaste tree and Pacific ninebark as three suitable substitutes.

  • Cher Wednesday, 10 October 2018 09:30 Comment Link

    This is weird.... so I have a ton of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds that go nuts around my butterfly bushes!!! Nuts!!! In fact I purposefully planted them to help the pollinators, specifically bees.
    I wish this article had more info in it? Like why is it "noxious"? The deer didn't take long before they ate it all up... leaves and flowers. And then does the County actually come and chop it all down... on your property?
    Very curious to hear more on this... out of curiousity!


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