Cephalanthus occidentalis, Buttonbush
A delightful Missouri and Illinois native shrub, Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is adored by humans and pollinators for its adorable fragrant white flower balls that appear in summer. Their long flower styles give the blossoms a pincushion look. The flowers mature into attractive pinkish round fruits made up of two-seeded nutlets. These ornamental fruits last throughout the winter. It is desirable to many different Missouri wildlife creatures including butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Ducks and other birds enjoy its tasty seeds. Beavers find its wood delicious and will also use the wood to build their dams and lodges.
Buttonbush grows into an open-rounded shrub 6-12′ tall. It easily grows in moist, rich soil, and tolerates wet conditions, including standing water. A popular and sought after shrub, it makes an ideal choice for rain gardens, naturalized areas, woodlands, native gardens and shrub borders. It also may be grown in shallow water at the edge of ponds.
Plant in full sun to part shade. Buttonbush prefers rich, moist soil. Although tolerant of tough conditions, it suffers in dry, hot spots. Water during the dry days of summer. If plants need to be revitalized, cut back to about 6″ in early spring.