The Buttonbush Tree and the Swallowtail Butterfly
My husband and I were out canoeing one day a few weeks ago in July in Arkansas on the North Fork of the White River. We came upon several small trees, called the Buttonbush. These trees were covered in Swallowtail butterflies. There were hundreds of the Swallowtails all over the Buttonbush trees. I imagine that they just emerged from their cacoons and were feeding on the flowers of these small trees. It was like magic seeing all of these beautiful butterflies. We paused our canoeing and just watched the beauty of nature on a summer's day.
The Buttonbush is called Cephalanthus occidentalis. It can grow to be 25-30 feet high and 4-5 feet in diameter. Waterfowl and birds eat the seeds of this tree. It seems the Swallowtail also enjoys the flowers.