Skip Navigation

Illinois Native Plant Guide - Common Buttonbush - Pages 64-65

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Common Buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Preferred water depth is 2-3 feet. Species tolerates permanently to semi-permanently flooded conditions. Ten inch tall seedlings can survive complete submergence for up to 45 days.

Wildlife Value

Seeds are eaten by waterfowl. Seed also provides food for insects, beaver, and muskrats. Plants provide nectar source and habitat for insects. Also provides nesting habitat for birds. Browsed by deer, muskrats, and beaver. Provides reptile habitat.


Used in upper and lower shoreline zones and for streambank stabilization.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Transplants and seed have limited availability from vendors. Collect seed in August-September and store in fresh water at 34o F.
  • Seed can be planted in wet mudflats or shorelines and requires light for germination.
  • Plants establish easily from cuttings, but cuttings should be rooted before flooding.
  • Rooted cuttings survive well. Small plants or seedlings may be transplanted directly on the site at 5 feet on center density.
  • Growth rate is medium, 1-2 feet per year.
  • This species can form monocultures.

Common Buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Mature HeightCommon Buttonbush
3-10 feet

Plant Type
Deciduous shrub

Indicator Status


Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance
Moderate to high

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
June to August

Light Preference
Partial to full sun
Tolerates full shade but may decline

Seeding Rate
Not applicable

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
npg_p64-65.pdf [PDF]