buttonwood

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English[edit]

Platanus occidentalis or American sycamore, a buttonwood

Etymology[edit]

button +‎ wood

Noun[edit]

buttonwood (plural buttonwoods)

  1. The common name given to at least three species of shrub or tree.
    1. The mangrove tree (Conocarpus erectus, family Combretaceae) a tropical and subtropical species.
      • 1938, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, Chapter 24, p. 303,[1]
        On the opposite bank was a fresh ’gator wallow. The mud had been packed smooth where they turned and rolled their hard bodies. Penny dropped to his haunches behind a buttonwood bush.
    2. The American sycamore or American plane tree (Platanus occidentalis, family Platanaceae).
      • 1824, Washington Irving (as Geoffrey Crayon), “Wolfert Webber, or Golden Dreams” in Tales of a Traveller, Volume 2, Part 4, Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, p. 55,[2]
        Thus quietly and comfortably did this excellent family vegetate under the shade of a mighty buttonwood tree, which by little and little grew so great as entirely to overshadow their palace.
      • 1835, Fanny Kemble, Journal of a Residence in America, Paris: A. and W. Galignani, entry dated Sunday, 13  January, 1833, p. 234,[3]
        When near, the trees look singularly deplorable and untidy, although at the distance, the red-brown of the faded oaks mingling with the bright, vivid, green cedars, and here and there a silver-barked buttonwood tree raising its white delicate branches from among them, produce a very agreeable and harmonious blending to the eye.
    3. California sycamore or western sycamore (Platanus racemosa).

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