A look a the Chinese buttonbush

Adina rubella.
Adina rubella. / SUR
  • Drought resistant Adina has glossy leaves and the blooms are scented spheres with white and yellow tipped anthers

Adina rubella, common names Chinese button bush and Shiny Adina, is native to southern China, Korea and Japan.

The genus Adina is a member of the Rubiaceae (madder) family and consists of deciduous shrubs and small trees.

The genus name comes from the Greek 'adinos' meaning 'clustered' which probably refers to the long stemmed, creamy white flower heads edged with pink. The drumstick blooms have long white and yellow tipped anthers that give them the appearance of a sputnik space satellite.

The flowers are hermaphrodite and start to appear in early spring. They are lightly scented and attract pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.

The stems are reddish and the elliptical leaves are dark green and glossy, sometimes with a red margin.

Although the shrub may lose all its leaves in the winter, the brown seed heads stay on to add seasonal interest.

In colder, inland areas frost will probably kill off the top growth but it should re-sprout from the base in the spring.

When fully grown Adina rubella may reach nearly two metres tall with a loose spreading habit and arching branches. It will grow in heavy soils and will tolerate occasional waterlogging. Surprisingly, Adina is also drought tolerant once established and will even flower in dry, shaded areas.

In traditional Asian medicine the flowers are used as an astringent, to ease flatulence, reduce bleeding and stimulate circulation. A decoction is used to treat dysentery, enteritis, ulcers and internal parasites.

Propagation is by seeds or from root cuttings.