American Bladdernut


(Staphylea trifolia)

American bladdernut is a large understory shrub native to eastern North America. It can be found in undisturbed woodland understory, slopes, and floodplains. Suckering roots and underground runners enable this fast growing, short lived shrub to form colonies, with some stems thick enough to be a small tree. Bladdernut is a good choice for native woodland shade gardens.

Young twigs are green and smooth, gaining tan fissures with age. The trunk bark is brownish gray with white streaks. Leaves are compound with three ovate (trifoliate), finely toothed leaflets; dark green, and paler underneath.

Showy drooping, bell-shaped white flowers appear in early spring (panicles). Bladder like papery seed pods follow and mature in late summer. Their colour starts off green, becomes golden brown, and persists long into the winter. These can add interest to dry flower arrangements.


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