“Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!”
For some reason, when I first downloaded this photo, that famous passage uttered by Shakespeare’s Romeo as he watched Juliet on her balcony came to mind.
A buttonbush flower looks like a globular star cluster rotating slowing out in space, a rich jewel.
Buttonbush or Cephalanthus gets its botanical name from the ancient Greek: "cephalo" meaning head and "anthus" meaning flower. Head flower? Those Greeks must have had spiky looking heads.
The species found in our part of the world is Cephalanthus occidentalis. (Occidentalis means "of or from the west" as opposed to the east where the Ethiops live.)
It’s a deciduous shrub that likes to grow in wetland habitats including swamps, floodplains, mangroves, riverbanks and moist forest understory. The shrubs are now in bloom locally at places like Ijams Nature Center and Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge.