Cephalanthus occidentalis

Buttonbush is a deciduous shrub that grows 6 to 12 feet tall. Buttonbush is a member of the Rubiaceae family and has small white flowers arranged in dense, spherical heads.  The flowers are insect pollinated and are an important nectar source for monarch butterflies.

Buttonbush is typically found in swamps, marshes, bogs, ditches, and other riparian and wetland areas.  It can be found throughout Norfolk Botanical Garden growing at the edges of the lake and ponds and in the wetlands of the Native Plant Garden.


This species is part of the Southeastern Virginia Phenology Network.

Type Medium-large shrub
Size up to 12′ high
Flower dense, round clusters of tiny white flowers; summer
Fruit dry clusters; late summer-fall
Hardy Zones 5-11
Native Eastern US

See other plant profiles

Click here to see the USA-NPN Species Profile for buttonbush, which includes detailed descriptions of the phenophases being monitored and a link to the USA-NPN monitoring datasheets.

Click here to link to the USA-NPN web site