Cephalanthus occidentalis

Photographs belong to the photographers who allow use for FNPS purposes only. Please contact the photographer for all other uses.



Plant Specifics

Size:5 to 20 ft tall by 4 to 8 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Brown
Phenology:Deciduous. Blooms in late spring. Fruits ripen in summer. Lifespan likely >50 yrs (Nelson).
Noted for:Aroma, fragrance, Showy flowers, Showy fruits


Recommended Uses:Wetlands and wetland edges as a specimen plant with a pleasing multi-stemmed vase-shape.
Considerations:Foliage is poisonous to livestock and humans.
Propagation:Seed or hardwood cuttings. Seed does not need pre-treatment.
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed, Specialty providers
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Stays Wet ----- to ----- Usually moist, occasional inundation)
Moisture Tolerance: Stays Wet ----- to ----- Usually moist, occasional inundation
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Clay, Loam, Organic material (muck), Sand
Soil pH:Slightly acidic to calcareous



Deer browse the foliage. Ducks and other birds including jays, cardinals, nuthatches, titmice, warblers, and mockingbirds consume the seed.


Host plant to several moths including titan sphinx (Aellopos titan) and hydrangea sphinx (Darapsa versicolor) moths (https://xerces.org/blog/planting-for-pollinators-button-bush).

Flowers are very attractive to a variety of insects including butterflies and bees.

Native Habitats:Marshes, swamps, river floodplains

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Has been used medicinally though there are potential issues. Dried leaves may be poisonous to pets.
General Comments:

Noted for it's round satellite "ball" flowers and round "button" fruits. Fragrant.

Sources disagree on salt tolerance of this plant.