Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Photo/Illustration: 
Bill Johnson
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Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
sef-ah-LAN-thus oks-ee-den-TAL-is
Genus:  Cephalanthus
A native small tree found in wetlands from Minnesota to Florida and from New England to California, buttonbush can reach 8 to 15 feet tall and is often wider than it is tall. Prune it into a small multi-trunked tree to reveal the curly bark of its young stems and the punctuated pale spots of its older stems. Blooms are extremely rich in nectar and attract butterflies and other insects.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Midsummer blooms look like fuzzy white balls arranged in clusters at the end of each twig. Flowers mature to spherical fruit that turns golden brown in autumn, persisting into winter and attracting wildlife. Slow to leaf out in spring, foliage is a rich glossy green, with red veins and red midribs beneath, and bronze, burgundy, or yellow tones in autumn.
Care:  Grow in fertile, rich, moist, neutral to acidic soil, in full sun. Tolerates clay soil.
Propagation:  From seed, or take semi-ripe cuttings in summer, or hardwood cuttings in winter.
Problems:  Infrequent.

Overview

Height
10 ft. to 15 ft.
Spread
15 ft. to 30 ft.
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Medium to Wet
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Attracts Butterflies,
Interesting Bark,
Native,
Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Summer
Flower Color
White Flower
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Flowering Tree,
Waterside
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Type
Shrubs

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