Cephalanthus occidentalis

Botanical Name : Cephalanthus occidentalis
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Cinchonoideae
Tribe: Naucleeae
Genus: Cephalanthus
Species: C. occidentalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells

Habitat :Cephalanthus occidentalis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Minnesota and California. It is a lowland species, growing along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, swamps and wet floodplains.

Description:
Cephalanthus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub or small tree that averages 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) in height, but can reach 6 m (20 ft). The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, elliptic to ovate, 7–18 cm (2.8–7.1 in) long and 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) broad, with a smooth edge and a short petiole. The flowers are arranged in a dense spherical inflorescence 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) in diameter on a short peduncle. Each flower has a fused white to pale yellow four-lobed corolla forming a long slender tube connecting to the sepals. The stigma protrudes slightly from the corolla. The fruit is a spherical cluster of achenes (nutlets)....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation:
Easily grown in moist, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Grows very well in wet soils, including flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones. Pruning is usually not necessary, but may be done in early spring to shape. If plants become unmanageable, however, they may be cut back near to the ground in early spring to revitalize.

Propagation :
Seed – It is  suggested  to sow  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. Layering.

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

Other Uses:
Buttonbush is cultivated as an ornamental plant for a nectar source or ‘honey plant’ and for aesthetics in gardens and native plant landscapes, and is planted on slopes to help control erosion. Buttonbush is a suitable shrub for butterfly gardens. Wood – light, tough.

Known Hazards : The leaves contain glucosides and can be toxic in large doses. Symptoms include vomiting, convulsions, chronic spasms and muscular paralysis

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalanthus_occidentalis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cephalanthus+occidentalis
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=g830

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