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Buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis

Buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cephalanthus occidentalis, or Buttonbush, is a perennial shrub native to lower Michigan and the Wisconsin/Michigan border. It prefers richer, moist to wet soil and enjoys life in and along rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes, and swales. Tolerates extended flooding and makes a great shoreline plant, or rain garden plant in gardens that stay moist. Adaptable to a wide range of moist soils and good at controlling erosion. Full to part sun. Can be grown in rich garden soils that are not allowed to dry out.  Grows as a shrub to small tree, 5 to 12 feet in height. Can be pruned or cut back in spring to control shape, though it is not necessary. In medium moisture soils the plant will remain smaller. Has a bushy, branching appearance.


The unusual round flowers are what gives it its name. They are showy and fragrant, making them magnets for bees and butterflies, in addition to people. They are even a magnet for hummingbirds. Buttonbush blooms mid-summer with spherical white blossoms, followed by red fruit structures, and brown seed pods. The plant is popular with many species of bees and is used as a host plant by a variety of moths and insects. This plethora of insects, plus the winter seeds, make this a useful plant for birds.


These plants are sourced from Designs By Nature, LLC, Laingsburg, MI.

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