Plant Detail

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Cephalanthus occidentalis

* Common Name:

buttonbush, common buttonbush, button willow, button ball

* Genus:

Cephalanthus

* Species:

occidentalis

Subspecies:

* Family (scientific):

Rubiaceae

* Family (common):

Madder

Synonyms :

Cephalanthus occidentalis var. californicus, Cephalanthus occidentalis var. pubescens

* Distribution in Canada:

Ontario
Quebec
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia

 

Photographer: Jim Stasz @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

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Habitat

Ecozone(s):

Boreal Shield
Atlantic Maritime
Mixedwood Plains

Natural Habitat(s):

Riparian (edge)
Swamp/Marsh (nutrient rich)

Habitat Garden(s):

Pond Edge/Wetland Garden
Pond/Standing Water

Erosion Control? Yes

Characteristics
 
Growing Conditions

* Plant Type:

Shrub

Moisture Requirements: Moist, Wet

Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade

Soil Requirements: Clay, Sand, Loam

Temperature Zone: 4

Evergreen?

No

Average Height:

0 to 3.6 m

Tolerances:

Flower Info
 
Fruit/Seed Info

Showy flowers?

Yes

Showy fruit/seeds?

Yes

Bloom time:

Jul to Sep

Edible for humans?

No

Flower Colour(s):

White/Cream, Pink

Fruit/Seed Colour(s):

Brown

Miscellaneous
 
Uses

Fragrant Flowers?

Yes

Urban Oasis, Stewards in the City, and Eco Superior are specific Evergreen programs that some plants are used in.

Fragrant Foliage?

Program & Other Uses:

Urban Oasis
Stewards in the City
Aboriginal

Fall colours?

Yes

Distinctive bark?

Poisonous to humans?

Yes

Thorns or prickles?

Attracts wildlife?

Birds
Hummingbirds
Butterflies
Bees

Larval host for:

Provincial tree/flower?

Plant Watch species?

No

Interesting Tidbits
 
References

Buttonbush is a handsome ornamental suited to wet soils and is also a honey plant. Ducks and other water birds and shorebirds consume the seeds.

The poisonous foliage of this abundant and widespread species is unpalatable to livestock. (Wildflower Centre, Lady Bird Johnson)

It is also valuable for controlling erosion of shorelines. (USDA PLANTS)

Habitat Information: This plant is usually found in a wet situations in various wetland habitats. It likes full sun, but tolerates some shade. (Evergreen)

Garden Uses: The flowers are showy, fragrant white balls and which in turn produce interesting seedheads; good for gardens where the soil is moist to wet most of the time. Does not tolerate drought.

To be water conservation friendly, this plant is a great choice in moist and wet gardens. Great for full sun or part shade pond gardens, great at the outflow of a residential downspout, or for use in bioswales or stormwater ponds, where water is captured and held to create periodic or constant wet conditions.

Insect Relationships: Long-tongue bees and skipper butterflies are drawn to the nectar.
(Illinois Wildflowers)

Traditional First Nation's Medicinal Uses: CAUTION since this plant contains a glucoside. TOXIC in large doses, it can cause convulsions, spasms, vomiting, muscular paralysis. It was a popular First Nation medicinal plant. Bark was used for a tea to remedy menstrual flow, for fevers, kidney stones, pleurisy. Decoctions were made from leaves or bark to treat numerous ailments, everything from diarrhea, constipation...to toothache. (Plants for a Future)

Missouri Botanical Garden, 200

USDA PLANTS Database

Wild Flower Centre

Plants for a Future

Illinois Wildflowers

Shrubs of Ontario
Soper, J.H. and M.L. Heimburger
ROM
1982
ISBN 0-88854-283-6

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