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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Gentianales

Familia: Rubiaceae
Subfamilia: Cinchonoideae
Tribus: Naucleeae
Genus: Cephalanthus
Species: C. angustifolius – C. glabratus – C. natalensis – C. occidentalis – C. salicifolius – C. tetrandra

Cephalanthus L., Sp. Pl. 1: 95. (1753), Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 42. (1754)

Typus: C. occidentalis
L., vide Merrill, J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 5: 532. (1915) et Hitchcock, Prop. Brit. Bot. 123. (1929)


Acrodryon Spreng., Syst. Veg. 1: 365. (1824)
Axolus Raf., Sylva Tellur.: 61. (1838)
Eresimus Raf., Sylva Tellur.: 60. (1838)
Gilipus Raf., Sylva Tellur.: 61. (1838)
Silamnus Raf., Sylva Tellur.: 60. (1838)


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 95. Reference page.
Linnaeus, C. 1754. Genera Plantarum, ed. 5: 42. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Cephalanthus in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Mar. 16. Reference page.
Hitchcock, A.S. & Green, M.L. 1929. Standard species of Linnaean genera of Phanerogamae (1753–1754). pp. 111–195 in International Botanical Congress. Cambridge (England), 1930. Nomenclature. Proposals by British Botanists. His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. Biblioteca Digital Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Cephalanthus. Published online. Accessed: Mar. 16 2019. 2019. Cephalanthus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Mar. 16.

Cephalanthus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. There are about six species that are commonly known as buttonbush.[1][2]


They are shrubs or small trees growing to 5–15 m (16–49 ft) tall. The leaves are simple, arranged in opposite pairs or whorls of three. The flowers form a dense globular inflorescence.
Distribution and habitat

Cephalanthus occidentalis is native to the eastern United States and Canada. The others occur in tropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia.[3] Two species are known in cultivation.[4]

Cephalanthus was named by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.[5] The generic name is derived from the Ancient Greek words κέφαλη (kephale), meaning "head", and ἄνθος (anthos), meaning "flower".[6]

Cephalanthus is the most basal genus in the tribe Naucleeae.[7] Some authors have segregated it into its own monotypic tribe.[8] The type species is Cephalanthus occidentalis.[9]

Cephalanthus angustifolius Lour. - Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
Cephalanthus glabratus (Spreng.) K.Schum. - sarandí - Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay
Cephalanthus natalensis Oliv. - Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa
Cephalanthus occidentalis L. - button-willow, common buttonbush, honey-bells - Cuba, eastern Canada, eastern, central and southern United States, California, Arizona, New Mexico
Cephalanthus salicifolius Humb. & Bonpl. - Mexican buttonbush, willowleaf buttonbush - Mexico, Honduras, extreme southern tip of Texas
Cephalanthus tetrandra (Roxb.) Ridsdale & Bakh.f. - tropical Asia from India to China and Thailand

Fossil record

16 fossil mericarps of †Chephalanthus pusillus have been described from middle Miocene strata of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[10]

The Plant List, Cephalanthus
Flora of China, Cephalanthus
Mabberley DJ (2008). Mabberley's Plant Book (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4.
Huxley AJ et al. (eds.) The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. The Macmillan Press Limited, London; The Stockton Press, New York. 1992. ISBN 978-0-333-47494-5
Linnaeus, C. Cephalanthus. Species Plantarum. 1753. 1: 95
Quattrocchi, U. (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 1. Boca Raton, New York, Washington DC, London: CRC Press. p. 476. ISBN 978-0-8493-2675-2.
Manns, U. and B. Bremer. 2010. Towards a better understanding of intertribal relationships and stable tribal delimitations within Cinchonoideae s.s. (Rubiaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56(1), 21-39. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.04.002
Ridsdale CE (1976). "A revision of the tribe Cephalantheae (Rubiaceae)". Blumea. 23 (1): 177–88.
Cephalanthus. Index Nominum Genericorum. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Angiosperm Fruits and Seeds from the Middle Miocene of Jutland (Denmark) by Else Marie Friis, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters 24:3, 1985

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