Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What happens to buttonbush globes

with 9 comments

Click for greater sharpness.

Yesterday you saw a picture of a buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, getting a visit from a colorful moth. Now it’s time to show you that after the plant’s creamy white, wonderfully fragrant flower globes go to seed and begin drying out, they take on a rich color. Who could have predicted that the residual seed cores would turn red? Not I, but that’s what happens. (It’s also common, but not so pretty, for the bush’s leaves to develop the type of brown patches you see here.) This photograph is from August 31, 2011, at Brushy Creek Lake Park in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park.

Buttonbush grows over large parts of North America, as you can confirm on the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2012 at 6:03 AM

9 Responses

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  1. Thy look like fodder for dried, winter floral arrangements!
    ~ Lynda


    September 5, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    • By winter, though, they tend to turn gray or black, at least out in nature. I don’t know if the red would last longer inside a house, but if you try it, please let us know the results.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2012 at 7:23 AM

      • Have to find them first. They are supposed to grow here locally, but I have never seen them yet.


        September 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM

  2. Beautiful.. these would be pretty in a dried fall arrangement!

    Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    September 5, 2012 at 9:30 AM

  3. Like the others have said, there’s something about these that stirs my inner Martha Stewart. The trick is to get rid of the leaves and then use spray lacquer – or hairspray, if you have it and aren’t trying for really, truly, through-the-winter permanent.


    September 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    • Another novel phrase in these comments: “something about these that stirs my inner Martha Stewart.” Thanks for the suggestion about lacquer or hairspray.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

  4. Pretty neat! We get globes that look very similar to these on two of our dogwood trees at this time of year. Interesting.


    September 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM

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