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A partially evergreen shrub, described as 6 to 16 ft high in a wild state, with a stem 4 to 6 in. in diameter; young shoots long and slender, square, covered like the under-surface of the leaves, the flower-stalks and flowers themselves, with a whitish or brown-red down. Leaves stalkless or nearly so, lanceolate with a heart-shaped base, tapered thence gradually to the pointed apex, round-toothed; 1 to 3 in. long, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. wide (larger in warm climates), dull green and wrinkled like a sage leaf. Panicles born on the current season’s growths in July, pyramidal, 3 to 6 in. long, 2 to 4 in. wide at the base. Corolla 1⁄3 in. long, woolly outside, lobes short; the colour of the part not covered with wool is white to pale lilac, with orange in the throat. Flowers fragrant.
Native of Africa from south-western Cape Province eastwards and northwards to Tanganyika. It was originally named Lantana salvifolia by Linnaeus and transferred to Buddleia by Lamarck in his Encyclopaedia in 1783, at which period it was in cultivation in the Jardin du Roi at Paris. It is remarkably hardy for a S. African shrub and has been grown out-of-doors without protection at Kew for twenty years, and occasionally flowered there. It is cut to the ground in severe weather but springs up again. The sage-like leaves distinguish it at once from all other cultivated buddleias. It is said to be the first shrub to reappear in the mountain forests of S. Africa after a fire. The wood is hard and was highly prized for making assegai shafts. As with other species, the flowers evidently vary in colour in a wild state; thus we have ‘flowers orange and buff’ (Barber); ‘blossoms white’ (Pegler); ‘limb tinged with lilac above, throat deep orange’ (Galpin). Sims in Forest Flora of Cape Colony, p. 277, says there is a pretty form with blue flowers.