Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Sputnik)

This shrub, Cephalanthus occidentalis (isn't that a great sounding name!), is called by several names: buttonbush, button-willow, and honey-bells. The blooms do smell somewhat like honey, so I guess that's where that name comes from. Also bees and other insects are attracted to the flowers. I like it because of the unusual flowers which remind me of Sputnik. You gotta be pretty old to make that association! When the white flowers have faded, they leave the developing seeds behind in a round green ball.  The shrub starts blooming in early summer for me. I have it growing in mostly clay and it gets some afternoon sun. It is shaded by the house most of the time. I grew this from a semi- hardwood cutting I took from a plant growing in a wet area near a small creek. My shrub is about 7 feet tall, and is unremarkable till it flowers and the seed pods start developing.

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