Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Bladdernut
Give a thumbs up American bladdernut
Give a thumbs up American Bladder Nut

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 8 - 15 feet
Plant Spread: 10 - 20 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Other: 1 to 2 inch long, 3 celled bladder-like, ovate, papery green seed capsules, maturing to yellow and then brown; persists into winter. Each capsule contains several, large hard, dark brown seeds.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Color: White
Other: Creamy white.
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Erosion control
Flowering Tree
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: 3 months warm; 3 months at 40 degrees F
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

creamy white flower clusters

Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 17, 2020 3:39 PM

This interesting shrub species I do see occasionally along or a little into the forest of southeast Pennsylvania. It is native to southeast Ontario & a tiny bit of far southern Quebec down into northern Georgia to central Alabama into eastern Oklahoma, Kansas, & Nebraska up into southern Minnesota, through southern Wisconsin & Michigan, often found near watercourses and bodies of water, but can grow uphill in deep rich woods or on slopes. It grows in sort of wet to well-drained soils with a pH range of 6 to 8. It grows at a medium rate of about 1.5 feet/year. It can grow in full sun, but tends to grow in part-shade and can grow in full fairly deep shade. Its trifoliate compound leaves that are arranged oppositely on the twigs turn a green-yellow to a pale lemon yellow in the fall. It bears about 3/8" long small flowers that are greenish-white to creamy white in May with the leaves. The fruit is a 3-lobed papery inflated bladder-like capsule about 1.5 to 3 inches long, profusely produced, that begin as a creamy color in August and darken to brown in the fall and persist through December. It has shallow, fibrous roots and is easy to transplant and grow. I find it to be a most interesting upright, arching large shrub. It is sold by some native plant nurseries. It is a similar shrub to the Hoptree Wafer-Ash Ptelea trifoliata) and a little less so to the Common Buttonball (Cephalanthus occidentalis); with all three being able to blend well together.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Help Id'ing plant in Virginia by Alexjoy May 9, 2019 10:23 PM 3
Planning to start a new Pollinator garden this year? by frostweed Feb 10, 2019 1:03 PM 16
leaves of 3, but not poison ivy by Muddy1 Jul 30, 2017 3:54 PM 9
Yardening in the Mid-Atlantic by Eric4home Jul 10, 2020 2:40 PM 3,542

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