Skipper On Buttonbush

Unidentified Skipper Butterfly on Buttonbush photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We were searching late in the season Buttonbush, growing at the edge of Pond 2A at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia. Buttonbush is a native wetland plant whose blooms are excellent nectar bars for many butterflies. It’s just as wonderful to see it growing in Akeley Swamp in far western New York State as it is to see it 960 miles south in the Georgia Piedmont.

I set it in my natives garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . . and just 3 days ago purchased some healthy young Buttonbush at Nearly Natives Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia.

The skipper here? Wouldn’t it be nice if one of you shared a definitive ID?

Do You Know Buttonbush?

Butterflyonbush wildflowers, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center in New York

See that’s the thing. Twenty years in, and I’m still learning. Anxious to add new native butterfly targets to my home garden, I noted that friends and knowledgeable folks included Buttonbush, when asked “What are the best shrubs to add to a garden designed to attract butterflies?”

Some of my new adds in my Pittsburgh garden have been excellent: Common milkweed, Mexican sunflower (not a native, but a winner!),  Asters,Greenhead coneflower. Others have disappointed: Clethra, sadly, never took.

I planted 3 Buttonbushes ( Cephalanthus occidentalis ) in our ‘peanut’ garden in June. All three flourished, but have a lot of growing to do, to reach that 3′ – 10.’ They prefer ‘wet feet’ in moist soil, and that part of my garden usually retains good moisture.

2017 may, should bring our first nourish of blooms, hopefully like these, met at the rich reserve of the Jamestown Audubon Center, in western New York State. Just down that same trail, I met a nice population of Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies. Nice trail that. Wetlands give.

Jeff