Several years ago, we posted about buttonwillow (Cephalanthus occidentalis varcalifornicus), and our love for them. Buttonwillow is still present on the Conservancy’s flagship preserve, and doing well. Since it is common in wetland habitats, it makes sense it would do well on the Conservancy’s managed marsh complexes. We’ve lost several plants, which we attribute to poor soil conditions. Where they have thrived, we’ve built up the soil, having harvested topsoil from elsewhere to create a nice bed for the shrub.

Every time I think about it lately, I think about the COVID-19 photos, or rather, the SARS-CoV-2 corona virus and its notorious spikes. We’ve all seen these. So here we have buttonwillow (see photo), with its spikes and round-shape, and I can’t help make the comparison, image-wise. Yes, the spikes on the round-ball shaped buttonwillow protrude more than they appear to protrude on the SARS-CoV-2. But still, the resemblance.

The lesson for us? We want more buttonwillow, less SARS-CoV-2. When that happens, the Conservancy’s preserves win and so do we.

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