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Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Other common name(s):

Common Buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells, Honeybells, Honey Balls, Honeyballs, Button-bush

Family:

Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Central Great Plains, Chihuahuan Deserts, Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, High Plains, Southern Texas Plains, Southwestern Tablelands, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Broken Red Plains, Limestone Plains, Red Prairie
Chihuahuan Basins and Playas, Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Montane Woodlands, Low Mountains and Bajadas, Stockton Plateau
Eastern Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie, Limestone Cut Plain, Western Cross Timbers
Bastrop Lost Pines, Floodplains and Low Terraces2, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland, Llano Uplift
Coastal Sand Plain, Floodplains and Low Terraces4, Laguna Madre Barrier Island and Coastal Marshes, Lower Rio Grande Alluvial Floodplain, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Southern Subhumid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Llano Estacado
Northern Nueces Alluvial Plains, Rio Grande Floodplain and Terraces, Semiarid Edwards Bajada, Texas-Tamaulipan Thornscrub
Canadian/Cimarron Breaks
Floodplains and Low Terraces1, Northern Blackland Prairie
Flatwoods, Floodplains and Low Terraces3, Southern Tertiary Uplands, Tertiary Uplands

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Shrub

Height

6
to
12
ft.

Spread

6
to
6
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Loam, Clay, Moist, Neutral

Light Requirement

Sun

Water Requirement

High

Native Habitat

Wetland or Riparian

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White, Pink

Bloom Season

Summer, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Fruit, Seeds, Nectar, Pollen

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Birds, Bees

Maintenance

Buttonbush is a great shrub for naturalizing in wet areas and rain garden. It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, but is not suitable for dry sites. Native Habitat: In swamps, around ponds and margins of streams throughout the state. Pruning may be done in early spring if shaping is desired. If plants become unmanageable, they can be cut back near to the ground in early spring to revitalize. Propagation: Seed.

Comments

Blooms June-September. A multi-stemmed shrub. Leaves in pairs or in threes, with glossy upper surface, and duller lower surface. Long-lasting blossoms are arranged in white globes. Flowers attract bees and seeds attract water fowl and other birds. Provides nectar for butterflies, especially Common Wood Nymph and Painted Lady.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym(s): Cephalanthus occidentalis var. californicus, Cephalanthus occidentalis var. pubescens

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CEOC2. 3) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Cephalanthus+occidentalis&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 4) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=21992&locationType=County&mapType=Normal. 5) Miller, George O., Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas 2nd Ed., 2013, pg 48. 52 6) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 373. 7) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=34786#null, 8) https://www.prairienursery.com/buttonbush-cephalanthus-occidentalis.html
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