Okay, so some call it button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). We call it button-willow. It’s a favorite among the staff here at the Conservancy.
It’s easy to see why. One of the reasons is that large insects are attracted to them. We’re trying to enhance prey production for the Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), and lately, large insect populations have grown scarce in the Natomas Basin. The Swainson’s hawk used to be called the moth hawk, and elsewhere, the grasshopper hawk. So more large insects like these for the Swainson’s! (See the post nearby on Tri-colored blackbirds for more on this subject.) Button-willow is a shining star in this respect, as these recent photos show.
Obviously, when something works this well for the NBHCP’s “Covered Species,” we want to repeat it. There will definitely be more button-willow plantings on Conservancy managed marsh complexes going forward.