Buddleja was named in honor of the Rev. Adam Buddle,
an English botanist of the 17th century. The species name 'salviifolia'
refers to the leaves that resemble those of Salvia farinacea.
This shrub is widespread and common in from the
Western Cape through the Eastern Cape to Free State, Lesotho,
Kwazulu Natal, Swaziland, Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Mozambique,
Zimbabwe to tropical Africa. It grows naturally in forest margins,
rocky hillsides and along stream banks on the escarpment.
salviifolia is a semi-evergreen bushy shrub that grows up
to 4m high under favorable conditions. Its leaves are dark green
and conspicuously wrinkled and puckered above, densely covered
with whitish or brown hairs below. Leaves can be broadly or narrowly
long. Masses of small, white to lilac blooms are borne in large
panicles. The flowers are sweetly scented and vary in colour from
dull to clear white to almost true purple. Flowering occurs from
August to October (spring).
Buddleja salviifolia attracts many insects
such as bees, butterflies and birds. In a garden design sagewood
is useful as a framework or background plant. It is very decorative
when in flower. If pruned often, it makes an excellent hedge.
Besides its use in horticulture, this plant has other economic
uses. Its leaves are browsed by game. Fresh and dried leaves make
an aromatic herbal tea. A decoction of roots provides a remedy
for cough and for relief of colic while an infusion of the leaves
is applied as an eye lotion.
Growing Buddleia salviifolia
Sagewood can be propagated easily from seeds and
cuttings. The fastest way of propagation is through cuttings.
Hardwood cuttings can be taken during the active phase of growth
and must be treated with a root stimulating hormone powder. Cuttings
should be planted in washed river sand and kept moist for three
to four weeks. Rooted cuttings can be planted in nursery bags
in a well-drained growth media. Young plants must be protected
from frost for the first season whereas well established sagewood
can withstand frost and drought. Sagewood grows easily in any
soil, but adding compost will give better results.
Seven species of Buddleja occur in southern Africa.
They are B. auriculata, B. dysophylla, B. glomerata, B. loricata,
B. pulchella, B. saligna and B. salviifolia.
Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P.1997. Field guide to the trees
of Southern Africa. Struik, Cape town.
Venter, F & Venter, J-A. 1996. Making the most of indigenous
trees. Briza, Pretoria.
Joffe, P. 1993. Gardener's guide to South African plants. Tafelberg,
By T.T. Mutshinyalo
Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden