Friday, June 11, 2010

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cephalanthus occidentalis is a species of flowering plant in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, that is native to eastern and southern North America. Common names include Buttonbush, Common Buttonbush, Button-willow and Honey-bells.

C. occidentalis is a deciduous shrub or small tree that averages 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) in height, but can reach 6 m (20 ft). The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, elliptic to ovate, 7–18 cm (2.8–7.1 in) long and 4–10 m (13–33 ft) broad, with a smooth edge and a short petiole. The flowers are arranged in a dense spherical inflorescence 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.4 in) in diameter on a short peduncle. Each flower has a fused white to pale yellow four-lobed corolla forming a long slender tube connecting to the sepals. The stigma protrudes slightly from the corolla. The fruit is a spherical cluster of achenes (nutlets).

Habitat
Buttonbush is a common shrub of many wetland habitats in its range, including swamps, floodplains, mangrove, pocosin, riparian zones, and moist forest understory. It is a member of the flora in the Everglades.

Uses
C. occidentalis has a number of historical medicinal uses, but it is also toxic due to the presence of cephalathin. It is cultivated as an ornamental and to help control erosion.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalanthus_occidentalis
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