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Buttonbush Tree

Buttonbush Tree

Buttonbush Tree

The Buttonbush will produce so many buttons, it will be big enough to use as a tree.Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is often lauded for its utility rather than its beauty. Its commercial introduction in 1735 was primarily for beekeepers (hence, its other common name of honey-bells), who cultivated this deciduous shrub as a pollen and nectar resource for honeybees.Buttonbush typically grows up to 6 to 8 feet tall and wide, but can attain a height of 12 to 15 feet with an equal spread. While its open, irregular form has been described as disheveled or unkempt, buttonbush can look more attractive by pruning lanky, wayward branches to outward growing side shoots. It can also be limbed-up and maintained as a small, multi-trunked tree.

Buttonbush

Buttonbush tends to go unnoticed until it starts flowering in June through August. Each gumball- to golf ball-sized floral sphere (1- to 1½-inch diameter) is comprised of many scented, creamy-white tubular flowers packed closely together. The long styles that extend above the four anthers make it look like an artificial satellite or pincushion. (The style is a long slender stalk that joins the stigma at its tip, which receives pollen produced by anthers, with the ovary at the bottom which produces the seed.) Each flower lasts up to 4 days. These spherical blooms are attached like ornaments to the ends of branches and occasionally along the length of shoots by 1- to 2½-inch long stalks called peduncles.Connor, K. 2004. Cephalanthus occidentalis buttonbush, p. 170-172. In: J. K. Francis (ed.). “Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions”: vol. 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 30 July 2019 .

Common buttonbush is a multi-stemmed shrub which grows 6-12 ft. or occasionally taller. Leaves in pairs or in threes, petiolate; blade up to 8 inches long, ovate to narrower, sometimes 1/3 or less as wide as long, with a pointed tip and rounded to tapered base, smooth margins and glossy upper surface, lower surface duller. Glossy, dark-green leaves lack significant fall color. Flowers small, borne in distinctive, dense, spherical clusters (heads) with a fringe of pistils protruded beyond the white corollas. Long-lasting, unusual blossoms are white or pale-pink, one-inch globes. Subsequent rounded masses of nutlets persist through the winter. Trunks are often twisted. Spreading, much-branched shrub or sometimes small tree with many branches (often crooked and leaning), irregular crown, balls of white flowers resembling pincushions, and buttonlike balls of fruit. Buttonbush is a small to medium sized shrub that can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet tall with a medium spread of 8 to 10 feet. It is sometimes called button willow, honey bells or honey balls. This multi-stemmed plant has leaves that come in pairs or in threes. The leaves are a glossy dark green with a narrow, oval shape. Further, they have smooth margins and a pointed tip that rounds to a tapered base. (Source: www.bartlett.com)

 

 

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