Cephalanthus occidentalis L.

  • Family: Rubiaceae
  • Common names: buttonbush, common buttonbush
  • Synonyms: C. occidentalis var. californicus, C. occidentalis var. pubescens

    A tall shrub, common along the borders of ponds and streams and in shrub-scrub wetlands. Leaves stipulate, petiolate, lance-oblong or ovate-pointed, opposite or whorled, about 5-15 cm (2-6 in) long. Flowers and fruits numerous and densely aggregated in spherical heads 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) in diameter.

    Distribution: A common wetland plant found from the Gulf Coast northward to Massachusetts, Michigan and Nebraska and in New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California.
    Habitat: Streambanks, lakeshores, willow-buttonbush swamps.
    NWI status: OBL
    Comment: Cephalanthus means head-flower; occidentalis means western. (Linnaeus gave the "western" designation to several species that occur in eastern North America.)

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/9/99
    Go to Oklahoma Biological Survey Home Page