Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis
Rubiaceae

Leaves are simple, opposite, sometimes whorled (3/node), deciduous, elliptical and hairy underneath. Twigs are light brown to gray with prominent lenticels. Fruit is a round ball of nutlets. Bark is brown, fibrous and scaly. Form is either a shrub or a tree up to 6 m (20 ft) in height. Buttonbush is found near streams and in swamps in the southeastern U.S. Wood ducks eat the fruit and use this tree for roosting.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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