ftshl-wildrosesmp8-sm.jpg (9176 bytes)Button Bush or Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
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"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.   And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)

Flowering Trees, Bushes and Shrubs of Sleepy Hollow Lake
Button Bush or Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

(Button Bush - 01)  This button bush has been growing up through the shale rip-rap on the edge of Sleepy Hollow Lake since shortly after we built our home in 1979.  The roots are almost always under water and during the winter this button bush is firmly locked into the frozen lake, and often covered with snow.  During the spring run-off, there are times when the entire button bush is under water, but this seems to be a common habitat of the button bush, which usually grows in watery places. Button bushes grow to heights of three to ten feet, but this one has remained about three feet tall all of its life.


(Button Bush - 02)  As if standing on two legs, this button bush rises out of the rocky shore line.  The "legs" and "feet" are part of the root structure of the button bush, which have been exposed by years of water and ice erosion, but this button bush has tenaciously clung to life and continues to grow despite the harsh environment.



(Button Bush - 02a)  In this photo of the button bush, we have a closer look at some of the weathered exposed roots, and the way the winter ice prunes the lower branches, leaving a knob at the base of the trunk from repeated annual branch sprouting.






(Button Bush - 03)  The button bush is a member of the Bedstraw or Madder Family (Rubiaceae).  They bloom from June to August.





(Button Bush - 04)  In this photo we can see many of the buds and blooms of the button bush.  The button bush is native to North America.





(Button Bush - 04a)  In this photo we have a closer look at the leaves and flowers of the button bush.  The leaves generally grow opposite one another, but occasionally a third leaf will grow in a kind of rosette.  The leaves have a feathery veining pattern.  The 1/3 inch white flowers of the button bush grow in ball clusters that are about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Each flowering "ball" grows on its own stem which spouts from leaf axils.  There are 3 terminal flowering balls on each of these branches, while only 1 grows from the lower leaf axils.



(Button Bush - 05)  This is another look at some of the button bush branches.  Ducks, especially mallards, seem to like the fruit of the button bush.




(Button Bush - 06)  The water background adds to the beauty and enjoyment of these button bush photos.





(Button Bush - 06a)  Once we allow ourselves to open our hearts and minds to the wonders of God's creation, it is hard not to feel His presence and be thankful, and desire to care for all that He has made..  This button bush has been just one of those focal points.





(Button Bush - 07)  This is another view of a few of the branches of the button bush.





(Button Bush - 07a)  In this photo we can see the many tiny flowers that form the ball shaped bloom of the button bush.  Each of the little green dots on the bud ball will become individual flowers.  In the side view of the lower leaf, we can see that the leaves are not toothed and generally end in a point.






(Button Bush - 08)  This is another look at a sub divided branch of the button bush.





(Button Bush - 09)  We have noticed that the buttonbush is one of the last bushes to produce buds and leaves in the spring.  We believe that this is due to the cold temperature of the water.  Before the ice on the lake completely melts, other bushes and trees have started their spring growth.  The buttonbush seem to wait until the water temperature warms up, and them begins it's new season of growth.



(Button Bush - 09a)  This photo was taken in early July 2005, when our buttonbush begins to bloom.  Note the green color of the new growth branches.





(Button Bush - 10)  This is another look at a portion of the buttonbush, and one of its spherical blooms.





(Button Bush - 10a)  This is a closer look at one of the buttonbush's round  ping-pong ball sized sphere of flowers with their projecting pistils.  Each tiny flower appears to have a narrow, 4-lobed, tubular corolla, which could be composed of four petals (we couldn't get close enough to make sure), 4 possible stamens within the corolla, and one projecting pistil.




(Button Bush - 11)  This is another look at a portion of the buttonbush with the lake in the background.





(Button Bush - 11a)  We are always amazed at the detail that God has put into His creations, such as the four spots on each of the tiny buttonbush flower buds and the spots on the stems.




(Button Bush - 11b)  This is another look at one of the buttonbush's ping-pong ball sized flower clusters.






(Button Bush - 11c)  In the bee's eye, digitally enhanced, view of the buttonbush flowers, we can see what appears to be the 4 stamens with each flower's corolla.





(Button Bush - 12)  In this photo of a buttonbush, we can see the clusters of flower buds and flowers, and that the leaves grow opposite one another.





(Button Bush - 12a)  In this photo, we can see the veining detail on the underside of the button bush leaves.










(Button Bush - 12b)  This is another close-up look at a buttonbush flower cluster.






(Button Bush - 13)  In this photo of a portion of a button bush, we can see more of the leaf detail and the way they grow opposite one another, and the approximately two inch long flower cluster stem.




(Button Bush - 14)  This buttonbush branch reaches out over the lake.






(Button Bush - 14a)  This is a closer look at the terminal end of the branch in the previous photo.  Note that the three flower clusters have sprouted from the leaf axil of the last pair of leaves on the branch.





| Flowering Trees, Bushes and Shrubs of SHL | Art and Photos |

Presented here are just a few of the countless components of God's creation.  Just as we cannot have human and animal life without water and plants, neither can we have lasting peace without love and compassion.  It is our hope and prayer that this series will motivate people to live and act in a cruelty-free manner; that we would no longer hurt or destroy each other, the animals or our environment.

Photos by Frank L. Hoffman unless otherwise noted.
If  you would like to contribute a photo and/or comment to these series, please contact:
Frank L. Hoffman flh@all-creatures.org

2005 - The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation.  All rights reserved.  May be copied only for personal use or by not for profit organizations to promote compassionate and responsible living.  All copied and reprinted material must contain proper credits and web site link www.all-creatures.org

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