Pavetta australiensis (RUBIACEAE) Pavetta, Butterfly Bush

Plants to Plant

Small rounded shrub to 4 m with soft, green leaves. Triangular stipules prominent on branchlets, persisting on stems. Terminal buds shiny. Leaves opposite, dark green, softly succulent looking. Beehawk moths feed on the leaves. Found in drier rainforest margins and along creeks and gullies. Grows in full sun or part shade. Pavetta from the Singhalese name for the plant P. indica; australiensis from Latin australia, Australia, and ensis belonging to.

Flowering plant habit. Photo: John Abbott


Showy white, perfumed flowers in dense clusters to 10 cm across, which normally appear in October – November, followed by fruit in February and March. Highly ornamental when flowering. It is also moderately fast growing and quite hardy. Butterflies feed on nectar in flowers.
Photo: Robert Whyte


Globose fruit to 8 mm are initially green and turn black.
Photo: Robert Whyte