Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Cephalanthus occidentalis
A variable medium shrub to small tree that can be deciduous or evergreen depending on climate. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 3 feet; largest on record - 50 x 25 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet ( rarely over 15 feet in cool climates ). It is native to swampy sites in southern Canada and the United States south into Central America and Cuba. In North America; it is native from eastern Nebraska to central Minnesota to Wiarton, Ontario to Parry Sound, Ontario to Chalk River, Ontario to southern Quebec & New Brunswick; south to eastern Texas to Florida, with an additional disjunct range in central California. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant along the Canard River Valley, around Point Pelee, the Lake Erie islands as well as the Ohio shore during the 1800s. It was also common at Detroit during the presettlement era.
The pointed, elliptic leaves, up to 12 x 8 ( typically 6 x 4 ) inches, are glossy deep green above, bright green beneath.
The lightly scented, white to creamy-white, dense flowerheads, up to 2 inches across, are borne during the summer.
The bark is rough and furrowed.
Hardy zones 5 to 11 ( far northern seed source may be hardy in 4 ) in full sun to partial shade on moist to wet soil. It can tolerate seasonal flooding up to 3 feet deep but requires a climate with hot humid summers. Propagation is from seed ( easy with no pretreatment ) or cuttings ( early summer or winter ). An attractive luxuriant landscape plant for very wet sites where little else will grow. It is rarely eaten by deer, insect pests and disease problems rarely occur.

* photos taken on Aug 1 2011 in Luzerne Co, PA

* photos taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Aug 3 2012 in London, ON

* videos found on Youtube

* photos taken on June 30 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on July 11 2014 in Washington, DC

* photo taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photo taken on July 26 2015 @ Niagara Parks Bot. Gardens, Niagara Falls, ON

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photos taken on Sep 18 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* historic archive photo

* photos of unknown internet source

text coming soon

* Photos courtesy of USDA NRCS.

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