Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Cephalanthus occidentalis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RubiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to tree, vine. Leaf: generally opposite (whorled), entire; stipules generally fused to stem, adjacent pairs occasionally fused, or occasionally leaf-like and appearing like whorled leaves. Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, spike, cluster, or flower 1, generally terminal and +- axillary. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx +- 4(5)-lobed, occasionally 0 (Galium, Crucianella) or 6 (Sherardia); corolla generally radial, 4(5)-lobed; stamens epipetalous, alternate corolla lobes, generally included; ovary generally inferior, chambers generally 2 or 4, style 1(2). Fruit: drupe, berry, or 2 or 4 nutlets [capsule].
Genera In Family: +- 500 genera, 6000 species: worldwide, especially tropics; many cultivated, including Coffea, coffee; Cinchona, quinine; many ornamental. Note: Diodia teres Walter doubtfully in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Lauramay T. Dempster, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CephalanthusView Description 

Common Name: BUTTON BUSH
Habit: Shrub, small tree. Leaf: opposite or in whorls of 3; stipules not leaf-like. Inflorescence: head, dense-spheric, peduncled. Flower: calyx 4-lobed; corolla narrowly funnel-shaped; style thin, exserted, stigma +- spheric. Fruit: nutlets 2--4, dry, brown, wider distally.
Species In Genus: +- 17 species: warm-temperate America, Asia, southern Africa. Etymology: (Greek: head flower)

Cephalanthus occidentalis L.
Habit: Plant 2--10 m. Stem: young stems round, +- red, glabrous. Leaf: 7--20 cm, elliptic to ovate, petioled, glabrous in age. Inflorescence: 3--3.5 cm; peduncle 2.5--5 cm. Flower: corolla white or +- yellow, tube slender, lobes obtuse; stigma long-exserted.
Ecology: Lake, stream edges; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: se KR, NCoRI, SNF, c SNH, GV, reported from SCoRO, MP; Distribution Outside California: Arizona, eastern North America, Mexico, Central America. Flowering Time: May--Sep Note: If recognized taxonomically, California plants assignable to Cephalanthus occidentalis var. californicus Benth.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Lauramay T. Dempster
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botanical illustration including Cephalanthus occidentalis


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Lauramay T. Dempster 2017. Cephalanthus occidentalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 24, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 24, 2017.

Geographic subdivisions for Cephalanthus occidentalis:
se KR, NCoRI, SNF, c SNH, GV, reported from SCoRO, MP;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.