Bladdernut, Staphylea trifolia


Staphylea trifolia

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Blue
Fragrance: No
Height: 10-15 feet
Spacing: 10-20 feet

Bladdernut, Staphylea trifolia, is a fast-growing, suckering, native large shrub or small tree that commonly occurs in bottomlands, woodland thickets and moist soils along streams. Establishes dense colonies in the wild where it is most often seen in a shrubby form. Typically grows 10-15 feet tall. Compound, trifoliate (three-parted), dark green leaves. White, bell-shaped flowers in drooping clusters appear in spring. The blooming period occurs during mid- to late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Flowers give way to inflated, bladder-like, egg-shaped, papery seed capsules which mature in late summer and often persist into early winter. At this time, the seeds can be made to rattle inside their capsule. There is a single seed per cell. The seeds are brown, smooth, and about ¼-inch across. The root system can form clonal offsets from underground runners.

Habitats include moist floodplain woodlands, mesic woodlands, riverbanks, and thickets. Bladdernut is typically found in deciduous woodlands where such trees as Sycamore, Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, American Basswood, and/or River Birch are present.

The preference is light shade to partial sun, moist conditions, and a fertile loamy soil with abundant organic matter. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Tolerates wide variety of soils.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Prefers moist soils.
  Seed capsules add interest to dried flower arrangements.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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