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Cephalanthus occidentalis - L.

Common Name Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells, Buttonbush
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-10
Known Hazards The leaves contain glucosides and can be toxic in large doses. Symptoms include vomiting, convulsions, chronic spasms and muscular paralysis[274].
Habitats A lowland species, growing along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, swamps and wet floodplains[229].
Range Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Minnesota and California
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cephalanthus occidentalis Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells, Buttonbush


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Desmodium
Cephalanthus occidentalis Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells, Buttonbush
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Munchkinguy

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Cephalanthus occidentalis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 7 m (23ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Emetic  Febrifuge  Laxative  Odontalgic  Ophthalmic  
Tonic

Button bush was often employed medicinally by native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a range of ailments[257]. It is little used in modern herbalism. A tea made from the bark is astringent, emetic, febrifuge and tonic[61, 222]. A strong decoction has been used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery, stomach complaints, haemorrhages etc[257]. It has been used as a wash for eye inflammations[222]. A decoction of either the roots or the fruits have been used as a laxative to treat constipation[257] The leaves are astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic[61, 222]. A tea has been used to check menstrual flow and to treat fevers, kidney stones, pleurisy etc[222]. The plant has a folk reputation for relieving malaria[222]. The inner bark has been chewed in the treatment of toothaches[222].

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Wood

Wood - light, tough. Of no commercial value[229].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Massing. An easily grown plant[1], it prefers an open position in a moisture retentive or wet neutral to acid humus-rich soil[200]. Dislikes dryness at the roots[11]. A calcifuge plant, it dislikes alkaline soils[200]. Requires a sunny position[184]. Plants are hardy to about -25°c[184]. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild[229]. The flowers, and the dried leaves, have a soft sweet fragrance like newly mown hay[245]. A good bee plant[149]. Plants are sometimes evergreen[200]. Special Features:North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - we have no details on this plant but would suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in an acid compost in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of soft or semi-ripe wood, July in a frame[200]. Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Botanical References

1143200

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