Adina rubella
Common Name: Chinese buttonbush 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rubiaceae
Native Range: Southern China
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in moist, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates both wet soils including ones that experience periodic flooding and dry soils including dry shade. This is a die-back shrub that is winter hardy to Zone 7. It may be grown in Zones 5 and 6, but will die back to the ground when temperatures in winter dip below 0 to -5 degrees F., with new stems usually emerging from the ground the following spring producing new growth to as much as 4’ tall by September.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Adina rubella, commonly known as Chinese buttonbush, is a deciduous shrub of the madder family that typically grows to 5-10’ tall with an upright spreading habit. This shrub is native to wet sites along streams, rivers, and sandy beaches in southern China and Korea. It features elliptic to oblong glossy green leaves with reddish margins and long-stalked spike-like spherical pin-cushion-like flower heads (to 3/ 4” diameter) of creamy white (sometimes pink-tinged) flowers that bloom from spring through summer (sometimes to October). Flowers have a mild fragrance. This shrub is a similar but more compact version of the North American buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Showy flowers are followed by showy seed heads.

Genus name comes from the Greek adinos meaning clustered for the dense-headed flowers.

Specific epithet from Latin means little red or somewhat red in probable reference to the reddish margins on plant leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Micheal Dirr suggests this shrub is essentially unknown in American gardens. Butterfly gardens. Bird gardens. Xeriscaping.