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. It has shiny dark-green spear-or egg-shaped pointed leaves 3 to 6 inches long. The leaves are opposite or whorled in 3′s or 4′s along the stem. 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.
Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc. ). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Buttonbush seeds are occasionally eaten by ducks but the bush itself is used for nesting by many bird species.