Virginia Tech Dendrology

buttonbush Rubiaceae Cephalanthus occidentalis L. Listen to the Latin symbol: CEOC2
Leaf: Opposite or whorled, elliptical, pointed tip, entire margins, 3 to 5 inches long, shiny dark green above.
Flower: Small, white tubular flowers occur in a dense round (1 inch across) cluster at the end of a slender 1 to 2 inch stalk, appear mid-summer.
Fruit: Round cluster of nuttlets (each 1/4'' long), dark brown, mature late summer to fall.
Twig: Slender to moderately stout, dark reddish brown, speckled with lighter, elongated lenticels; tips of twigs typically die back; lateral buds small and embedded in bark, leaf scar "D"-shaped or nearly round with a single "U"-shaped bundle scar.
Bark: Thin and smooth on young stems, becoming fissured and scaly.
Form: Upright, multiple branching shrub, may reach 25 feet in height.
Looks like: silky dogwood - fevertree - fringetree - common sweetshrub
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Cephalanthus occidentalis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting buttonbush.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson