Staphylea trifolia L.

  • Family: Staphyleaceae
  • Common name: American bladdernut

    Shrub or small tree to 4 m (13 ft) tall. Twigs green to brown or gray, glabrous, often striped, with rings at nodes. Bark gray, smooth becoming fissured on larger stems. Leaves opposite, compound, with 3 leaflets on a long petiole. Leaflets elliptical, 4-8 cm (1.6-3.2 in) long, acuminate, finely serrate, green above, pale and pubescent below. Flowers several in drooping panicles about 10 cm (4 in) long at ends of leafy twigs, bell-shaped, white, about 1 cm (0.4 in) across, blooming in Spring. Fruits drooping elliptical capsules 3-5 cm (1.2-2 in) long, green to brown, thin-walled, 3-celled, opening at long-pointed tips in late Summer.

    Distribution: Native to much of the eastern Half of the U. S.
    Habitat: Understory of upland hardwood forests.
    NWI status: FAC
    Comment: Staphylea is from a Greek phrase meaning "cluster of grapes"; trifolia refers to the three leaflets.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/20/99
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