By ALEXANDRA BROTZMAN
Special to the PRESS
For September’s plant of the month, the Keep SPI Beautiful Committee has chosen the Rio Grande Butterfly Bush. Also known as the Tepozán, this shrub is from the Buddlejaceae (Loganiaceae) family. The scientific name is Buddlejasessiliflora. The Butterfly Bush is a native plant to the area, growing up to six and a half feet tall with elliptical blade-like leaves jutting out in opposite directions up to four inches long. The leaves have a silvery ray color and are somewhat hairy, making them distinct from other native shrubs to the Rio Grande Valley. The tiny greenish-white flowers are grouped in dense clusters on each leaf axils. The Butterfly Bush produces capsule type fruits approximately 3/16th inches tall.
The Rio Grande Butterfly Bush blooms in spring and summer and can be found in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties. In Texas, this species only grows in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, always located near the banks of the Rio Grande. While pretty, the flowers smell like the inside of a dog’s ear. The plant is drought tolerant and requires sandy, moist soil, with partial sun. Aptly named, this shrub attracts many butterflies and can be used as an attractive ornamental plant.
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