Buttonbush is a woody shrub (3-10 feet tall) that occasionally grows into a small tree and can be found above water or in water up to 4 feet deep. The leaves are opposite or whorled in 3’s or 4’s along the stem; shiny dark-green spear/egg shaped and pointed (3-6 inches long). The branchlets are slender, gray or brownish, with no hair or short hair. Flowers of buttonbush are easily identified by their greenish-white tube flowers in dense ball-shaped clusters about 1 inch in diameter. Seed heads are brown.
Buttonbush seeds are occasionally eaten by ducks but the bush itself is used for nesting by many bird species. This plant occurs in swamps, marshes, around ponds, and margins of streams.