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For Your Garden - December 2013

Have you been meaning to add a few native plants to your garden? Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Buttonbush is a shrub that grows in wet areas throughout the state. It usually reaches a height in the range of three to eight feet. Flowering occurs in June, July and August. The flowers are white, tiny and arranged in a sphere that is one to one and a half inches in diameter. The leaves may be up to eight inches long and three inches wide. The leaves are dark green on the surface and arranged in pairs or whorls of three or four. The fruit is a red-brown nutlet. Nutlets develop in clusters.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rubiales
Family: Rubiaceae

Illinois Status: common, native