Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Cephalanthus occidentalis


Common buttonbush, Buttonbush, Button willow


Rubiaceae (Madder Family)



Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Common buttonbush is a multi-stemmed shrub which grows 6-12 ft. or occasionally taller. Leaves in pairs or in threes, petiolate; blade up to 8 inches long, ovate to narrower, sometimes 1/3 or less as wide as long, with a pointed tip and rounded to tapered base, smooth margins and glossy upper surface, lower surface duller. Glossy, dark-green leaves lack significant fall color. Flowers small, borne in distinctive, dense, spherical clusters (heads) with a fringe of pistils protruded beyond the white corollas. Long-lasting, unusual blossoms are white or pale-pink, one-inch globes. Subsequent rounded masses of nutlets persist through the winter. Trunks are often twisted. Spreading, much-branched shrub or sometimes small tree with many branches (often crooked and leaning), irregular crown, balls of white flowers resembling pincushions, and buttonlike balls of fruit.

Buttonbush is a handsome ornamental suited to wet soils and is also a honey plant. Ducks and other water birds and shorebirds consume the seeds.

Image Gallery:

29 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 6-12 feet.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep

Distribution

USA: AL , AZ , AR , CA , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. & Que. to upper Mississippi R. Valley, e. NE & e. KS, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: In swamps, around ponds and margins of streams throughout the state. Sand, loam, clay, limestone; moist, poor drainage or standing water okay. Prairie swales; lake, marsh, creek & swamp margins; dry, limestone bluffs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Common buttonbush is a spreading, multi-branched shrub or sometimes small tree with many branches (often crooked and leaning), irregular crown, balls of white flowers resembling pincushions, and buttonlike balls of fruit. Buttonbush is a handsome ornamental suited to wet soils and is also a honey plant. Ducks and other water birds and shorebirds consume the seeds.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Showy, Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Fruits ornamental, Bog or pond area, Aromatic, Water garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-bees, Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds
Warning: The poisonous foliage of this abundant and widespread species is unpalatable to livestock. The bitter bark has served in home remedies, but its medicinal value is doubtful.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Cephalanthus occidentalis is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Titan sphinx
(Aellopos titan)

Food Source
Learn more at BAMONA
Hydrangea sphinx
(Darapsa versicolor)

Food Source
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2012-12-07