I Discovered Buttonbush Today

Photo by Carolynn Waites

Today I was at the Houston Zoo. I was attempting to take some pictures of butterflies, but they were not being very cooperative, especially the beautiful swallowtail I was trying to get to pose for me.

So I decided to start taking pictures of the beautiful plants and flowers instead because they pose much better than butterflies do.

I encountered this really cool looking tree. I asked one of the Zoo’s horticulturists what this amazing plant was and he told me it was a Buttonbush.

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a small tree found in wetlands that can reach 8 to 15 feet tall. The 1-inch diameter flower clusters bloom from June to September. Flowers mature to a fruit that turns golden brown in autumn. It attracts insects, butterflies, and bees with its nectar. Birds eat the fruit.

I’m sure the reason I am not familiar with this lovely tree is that is likes moist soil, which does not exist in my yard. Just goes to prove the wonderful world you can discover if you just look around you.

Honey Bee Enjoys Vitex Flowers

Photo by Carolynn Waites

This little honey bee (Apis mellifera) is visiting my newly planted Vitex tree (Vitex agnus-castus).

I have wanted to plant Vitex in my back yard for a while, so over this long Memorial Day weekend I finally planted two small trees in my back yard. These deciduous shrubs/small trees are beautiful and they attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. They are also commonly known as Chaste trees.

Now I get to enjoy the beautiful lilac flowers that this tree produces through the spring and summer, with the benefit of admiring the amazing creatures the flowers attract.