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Cephalanthus occidentalis

Button Bush

Hundreds of tiny, tubular creamy white flowers are packed into large showy flower heads, which dangle from the bush in August. Butterflies and other insects find the nectar irresistible. The fragrant flower heads mature into round fruits each containing hundreds of nutlike seeds that are eaten by waterfowl and other birds such as quail. Many birds use this deciduous shrub as a nesting site.

Benefits

Tremendous source of nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators
Waterfowl and other birds relish the seed
Provides protective cover for all kinds of birds
Adapts to many soil types, except dry ones
Thrives in bogs and very wet conditions

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easy to grow in moist, organically rich soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in wet soil, including seasonal flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones. Pruning is usually not necessary, but may be done in early spring to shape. If plants ever need to be revitalized, they may be cut back near the ground in early spring.


Height
5-12 Feet

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Spread
4-7 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

Native Range

Swamps and streamsides, even in shallow water; Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to southern Quebec and eastern Minnesota, along the Mississippi to Texas, Mexico and Florida.

Native Trivia

While hummingbirds visit buttonbush for nectar, they also visit for the protein. Hummers need nectar for energy but they also need protein to build muscles. They get protein by eating insects. The tongue of a hummingbird has grooves on the side, which help them catch insects in the air.


"A favorite nectar plant for my hummingbird friends and me and my bird buddies love the seeds."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Sun
Soil
Saline or alkaline
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Songbird
Wet Sun
Native Habitat
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Naturalizes
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
California
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin