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Kansas Forest Service

Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502

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Button Bush

Cephalanthus occidentalis, or Button Bush, is native to the eastern two-thirds of Kansas and is adaptable statewide. It is usually found in wetlands and along streams and lakes.

choke cherry

Mature Size 
It grows to 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide at full maturity. Growth is moderately fast; expect almost 12 inches per year once established.

Growth Rate 
Growth is moderately fast; expect almost 12 inches per year once established.

Leaves, Stems and Fruit
Leaves emerge in late spring and are glossy green with ovate to elliptic leaf shape. Tiny fragrant white flowers appear on a spherical ball-like head in early to mid-summer. These flower heads mature into ball-like fruits of multiple, two seeded, nutlets.


Wildlife - It's flowers attract butterflies and other insects which, in turn, attracts various songbirds and bees.

Windbreaks - It may be used to provide good windscreen or windbreak component, especially in wetter soils.

Riparian Planting -Since button bush is native to stream banks, its fibrous roots hold soil in place. Adapted to periods of flood followed by drier periods.

Adaptation and Soil
Thrives in moist soils, including wetlands. Tolerant of moderate drought once established. Adapted to most soil pHs, but cannot abide high salinity. Also tolerant of both sun and shade.

Normally spacing is 4 feet between plants.

One-year-old, bare-root seedlings, 12 to 18 inches tall are used in conservation plantings. Control of weed and grass competition is important for good survival and growth.


None serious

Soil Information
Average Height in 20 Yrs: 
-Eastern12-15 ft.
-Central8-12 ft. 
-Western6-8 ft.
Growth Rate:Medium
Native Species:Native to Kansas
Windbreak Value:Low
Wildlife Value:Medium
Lumber Products:No
Fuelwood Products:No
Drought Tolerance:Medium
Soil Saturation:High Tolerance
Salinity Tolerance:Low Tolerance
pH Range:5.3-8.5