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Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Host Plant: none

Nectar Plant: swallowtails and monarchs, as well as other butterflies and hummingbirds

Flower Color: white to pink

Growth Habit: Shrub that grows to 12 feet tall

Range in North America: Most of North America except for the northwest.

Exposure: Full Sun to partial shade

Hardiness: Zones 3-11

Soil Requirements: Moist soil, sometimes with standing water, and high organic content

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Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

White flower of buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) at a pond edge.

Flower of Buttonbush — Psamson at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Button Willow, Honey Bells, Honeyballs, Little Snowball, Globe Flower

Description of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), a member of the Rubiaceae (Madder Family), is a shrub that grows to 12 feet tall and has white to pink flowers that bloom in the summer.  Waterfowl enjoy the seeds in the fall.

Read more about it on this blog post.

Nectar Species

Buttonbush is a nectar plant for butterflies, especially swallowtails and monarchs.  Hummingbirds are also fond of the flowers.


This shrub grows in wetlands and the edges of water bodies.

Range of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) in the United States and Canada

Range of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The leaves of this shrub are arranged in a whorl and the flower looks like a pin cushion.



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