Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Buttonbush is a multi-stemmed shrub which grows 6-12 ft. or occasionally taller, and can be trained as a small, multi-trunked tree, similar to crape myrtle. Hundreds of ball-shaped, creamy white flowers dangle from the bush sometime between June and August. Butterflies and insects find the nectar irresistible. The nut-like seeds are eaten by many waterfowl and many types of birds use it as a nesting site. Buttonbush is a handsome ornamental suited to wet soils and is also a honey plant. Bees love this plant.
Buttonbush is naturally found in wet and boggy areas that are usually too wet for other perennial species to establish and thrive, but will grow just about anywhere you plant it, including upland sites. We had one grow in a typical urban setting in Fort Worth and it survived the drought years with little supplemental irrigation.
Thanks to its fast growing root system, buttonbush can be used as an erosion control tool. Aside from the many wildlife and environmental benefits, buttonbush provides a long lasting, unique bloom display, and the glossy leaves show streaks and splotches of blood red color before dropping in the fall.
AT A GLANCE
- Texas native
- Full sun to part sun
- 8-12 ft tall and wide
- Wildlife value: butterflies, bees, birds
- Honey plant