Butterfly Bush ~ Buddleia
Image by: wintersown
Maturing Buddleia Pods
Butterfly Bushes are also know as the Summer Lilac because their pendulous flower heads are similar in appearance and color to lilacs, some are heavily perfumed and their scent is intoxicating. The descriptive name lets you know that these bushes are loved by butterflies, the flowers are an abundant nectar source and many varieties of butterflies can be seen visiting one plant at the same time. Buddleia should be in every butterfly habititat.
Seed collection is easy, but as the seeds are so small and chaff so abundant it is difficult to separate the two. Chaff and seeds are usually traded together with instructions to surface sow the entire packet contents.
The seed pods develop throughout the flower cluster. This is not a rushed plant, pod development lasts for several weeks, even a few months. The developing pods look like miniature green footballs, they are held upright as they develop. After an extended period of time the pods finally mature, turn a dark mahogany brown and spit open at the end tip. Inside are tan to medium dark seeds the size of dust.
Collection can be made easier by removing an entire seed cluster after you see some browning of at least half the pods. Place the seed cluster on an open plate or bowl and allow it to dry for several weeks. The remaining green pods will finish maturing their seeds, brown and split. Gentle tapping will remove most of the seeds. There will also be chaff from the pods and spent blossoms that may not have dropped from the flower.
A common trade practice is to lay down a 3" square of tissue paper, place an amount of seeds and chaff upon it, and fold up the tissue to enclose the dust-sized seeds, seal with a small piece of tape. This folded tissue is then placed inside an exterior packet for trading.