BUTTONBUSH Cephalanthus occidentalis
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a saying that encourages the visual artist. Jesus used verbal pictures to emphasize a point, but His greatest message to His followers was His activities.
Most of us have heard the saying, “like father, like son.” That is what Jesus told His disciples when He was asked to show them what His Father looked like.
Jesus responded, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 NIV). What did they see? A loving attitude and activities that fed, clothed and healed the poor, the outcast, and the people (poor or rich) that were in need of wholeness.
The wildflower for today has no record of medicinal value but its gentle beauty reflects the Creator’s gentle and loving spirit.
Buttonbush is native to the U.S. It is a shrub that can reach 10 feet in height and it’s generally found along the creeks of our area. It is a water-loving plant that will spread up a shady creek during wet seasons but will quickly dry up and die during an extended drought.
The name comes from the shape of the white cluster of florets. The “button” is a ball-shaped cluster of tiny flowers. The button is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter but the individual flowers are about 1/3-inch long.
Close examination with a magnifying glass reveals that the tiny flowers have four lobes, four stamens and one style that extends well beyond the 1/3-inch corolla.
A big rush of blooms occurs in early summer, but occasional blooms will occur until frost.
The leaves are deep green and measure 3 to 6 inches long. They are opposites along the branches.
The seeds are white and some wildlife feast on the fruits, especially ducks, but few grazing animals seek out the leaves. There seems to be no medicinal or herbal traditions associated with the buttonbush.
Does your attitude and activities reflect the very nature of Christ? Is that not what it means to be a Christian?
Edgar A. Guest once wrote, “ I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” May your life be a picture that is worth many thousands of words — feeding, clothing and sheltering the poor, the outcast, and the people (poor or rich) that were in need of wholeness.
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center Street in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.