William John Bates van de Weyer

William John Bates van de Weyer (1870– 1 April 1946) was a British Army Officer who won lasting fame in horticulture as the first to hybridize a South American species of Buddleja with an Asiatic species while on leave during the First World War.

Buddleja × weyeriana 'Golden Glow'

Working in the nursery of his home, Smedmore House, Corfe Castle, he crossed B. globosa with B. davidii, naming the new hybrid Buddleja weyeriana. The initial F1 progeny were aesthetically poor, but Weyer persevered, back-crossing them to produce more strongly coloured F2 plants from which he made two selections he named 'Moonlight' and 'Golden Glow', which remain in commercial use to this day.[1] Over half a century later, 'Sungold' was raised from a sport of 'Golden Glow' in the Netherlands, and was used in hybridization experiments in the USA, leading to the release of small, sterile Buddlejas such as 'Blue Chip'.

Weyer also hybridized B. globosa with B. madagascariensis circa 1920 and, several years later, B. globosa with B. brasiliensis,[2] though neither appears to have had much horticultural merit and no cultivars are known.


Weyer was the son of Lt. Col. Victor and Lady Emily van de Weyer (who was a daughter of William Craven, 2nd Earl of Craven), of New Lodge, Berkshire, and a grandson of Sylvain van de Weyer. Educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was appointed as aide de camp to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland before gaining the rank of Major in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. Weyer held the office of High Sheriff of Dorset in 1942.[3][4]

Personal lifeEdit

Weyer married the Hon. Olive Elizabeth Wingfield (1885–1978), eldest daughter of Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt, on 17 December 1908. She bore him five children, three daughters, Myrtle (1910-1997), Daphne (1911-2000), and Jasmine (born 1914), and two sons, Sylvain (born 1917) and Adrian (1919-1940), the latter killed in action in the Pas de Calais in 1940 aged 20. Major van de Weyer died on 1 April 1946, aged 75.[3]

Honours and armsEdit

Weyer was invested as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (M.V.O.) in 1900.[3] His hybrid buddleja cultivar 'Golden Glow' was accorded the Award of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1923.

Coat of arms of William John Bates van de Weyer
Gules, 3 fleurs de lis argent couped, accompanied in chief by a label of three points azure.


Weyer, W. van de (1920). “Buddleja weyeriana” in Gardeners' Chronicle ser. 3, 68: 181. 1920.


  1. ^ Bean, W. J. (1950). Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles 7th Edition. John Murray, London.
  2. ^ Moore, R. J. (1949). Cytotaxonomic studies in the Loganiaceae. III. Artificial hybrids in the genus Buddleja L. American Journal of Botany. Vol. 36, No. 7 (Jul., 1949), p. 511.
  3. ^ a b c Mosley, C. (Ed.). (2003).Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition. Vol. 1, p. 1130. Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd., Wilmington, Delaware, USA.
  4. ^ Townend, P. (Ed.). Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 18th edition. Vol. 1, p. 686. Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1965-1972, London, England.
  5. ^ IPNI.  Weyer.

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