Skip to main content



Common Name: Buttonbush

Botanical Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis


Plant family: Rubiaceae

Location: Art Trail, East Terrace Switchback

Growing zone: 4-10

Height: 3-8 ft.

Spread: 3-6 ft.

Bloom time: June, July

Bloom description: White, tubular flowers huddle close together and emit a long style (a stem that connects the stigma and ovary) from the center. These flowers are quite tropical-looking and stand out during the summer months when the backdrop is dark.

Leaf type: The dark-green, glossy leaves are whorled around the stem and are usually creased.

Garden uses: A medium-sized, multi-trunked shrub, it is best used in moist or wet soils. It is seen statewide in Arkansas along stream and river banks, so we use it to help naturalize an area that stays moist, where most shrubs fail. Place it in full sun or light shade.

Wildlife benefits: A fantastic pollinator species to attract butterflies and moths. In fact, I would recommend this as an alternate to the non-native butterfly bush (Buddleja sp.). Hummingbirds can also be seen visiting the flowers.