Skip navigation

Weed Identification

common buttonbush



Scientific Name

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Cephalanthus occidentalis var. californicus
Cephalanthus occidentalis var. pubescens

Identifying Characteristics

Buttonbush is a large, multi-stemmed shrub that grows to a mature height of twelve feet. It has opposite, entire leaves 2-6 inches long and 1-3 inches wide. They are glabrous and green above.This plant spreads by seed dispersal and resulting seedling establishment.

Flower Seed Head

The flowers occur in dense, round, 1 inch diameter clusters which bloom from June to September.

Seed Fruit

The seed matures in the round clusters that resemble those of the sycamore tree.

Where Found

The natural range of this shrub is from Florida to Mexico and north to Nova Scotia and Ontario. Buttonbush is best adapted to shorelines and swamps with saturated soil and full sunlight. It will tolerate water depths up to three feet. Flowering is poor in the shade or in dry soils.

Life Cycle


Plant Type