What Is An American Bladdernut: How To Grow An American Bladdernut

By: Teo Spengler

What is an American bladdernut tree? It’s a large shrub native to the U.S. According to American bladdernut information, the plant bears small, attractive flowers. If you are interested in growing an American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia), read on. You’ll find additional American bladdernut information as well as tips on how to grow an American bladdernut.

What is an American Bladdernut Tree?

If you aren’t familiar with this shrub, you may ask “what is an American bladdernut?” It is a plant native to eastern North America, from Ontario down through Georgia. Bladdernut is especially common in bottomland forests, and can often be found along streams.

You can grow an American bladdernut as either a shrub or a small tree, depending on how you prune it. American bladdernut information tells us that the shrub can grow to a height of 12 or 15 feet (3.7-4.7 m.) tall. It’s an easy-care plant requiring little care.

If you are thinking of growing an American bladdernut, you’ll want to learn more about this plant. Its ornamental features include distinctive, toothed leaves and pretty little bell-shaped flowers. The flowers are creamy white with a greenish tint. They appear in spring, growing in hanging clusters. Ultimately, the flowers develop into interesting fruit that look like small, inflated pods.

The pods appear green, then mature to light brown in late summer. After they mature, the seeds shake inside them like a rattle.

How to Grow an American Bladdernut

If you want to start growing an American bladdernut tree, you’ll need to live in a fairly cool climate. According to American bladdernut information, it thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 7.

One reason to grow these trees is the ease of American bladdernut care. Like most native plants, American bladdernut is very undemanding. It grows in almost any soil, including moist, wet and well-drained, and also tolerates alkaline soil.

Don’t worry too much about the site. You can plant the seedling in a full sun site, a partial shade site or a full shade site. In any setting, its required care is minimal.

This article was last updated on

American Bladdernut

American bladdernut is a thicket-forming shrub or small tree, with branches near the top, that produces clusters of bell-shaped white flowers in spring and unusual 3-parted air-filled capsules in late summer that turn papery and persist into winter.

Leaves are opposite, compound, with 3 leaflets, each leaflet 1½–2 inches long, egg-shaped or oval, margins sharply and finely toothed, with a pointed tip. Upper surface bright green, hairy on the veins lower surface slightly paler, hairy. End leaflet stalk ½–1½ inches long, much longer than the stalks of the side leaflets side leaflets nearly sessile. Leaflet stalks and petioles hairy. The leaves remain green until late in autumn, eventually turning yellowish green.

Bark is grayish brown, smooth on young shrubs and slightly grooved and flaky on older trunks.

Twigs are flexible, smooth, reddish brown to greenish brown, often striped, curved, ascending.

Flowers April–May, in drooping clusters 2–4 inches long on a short stem arising from upper leaf axils (from twigs of the previous year) flowers small, white, bell-shaped, about ¼ inch long sepals and petals nearly the same length petals 5, about ¼ inch long, tips blunt stamens 5, extending beyond the petals.

Fruits in August, persistent until midwinter, solitary or in clusters of 2–5, strongly inflated, bladderlike, drooping capsules 1¼–2½ inches long, 3-lobed, net-veined, green turning to brown, opening at the tip seeds 1–4, about ¼ inch long, rounded, somewhat flattened, yellowish to grayish brown, hard, shiny.

Similar species: Another shrub, called hop tree, wafer ash, or stinking ash (Ptelea trifoliata), also has trifoliate leaves, but bladdernut has opposite (not alternate) leaves and a relatively long-stalked central leaflet the flowers and fruits of the two shrubs are quite different.

  • Shrub or small tree, usually found in moist soils.
  • Leaves compound with 3 leaflets, the terminal leaflet on a long stalk, the 2 side leaflets nearly sessile.
  • Leaflets oval, pointed-tipped, with teeth.
  • Flowers white, tubular, in drooping clusters.
  • Fruits air-filled, 3-parted capsules that turn brown, dry, and papery, lasting well into winter.

Height: to 25 feet most typically 10–15 feet.

American Bladdernut (Staphylea Trifoliate) 5 seeds

We accept Credit/Debit cards, PayPal, USPS Money Orders, Western Union.

For all domestic orders $80 and over.

We ship paid orders in 24 hours.

We always include printed germination instructions.

American bladdernut is admirable because of its glossy, attractive, three-part leaves and curious-looking fruits. This variably medium to large shrub, rarely a small tree, is naturally found in moist-soil woodlands, especially along stream banks. It's native to southeastern North America, east of the Great Plains from Ontario to the Florida Panhandle. It attains an upright habit with somewhat spreading branches.
American bladdernut's bark is mainly smooth and a mottled blend of gray-tan and white. The dark green leaves emerge in spring, maturing into distinctly three-leaflet leaves. Each toothed leaflet is an attractively shaped oval-teardrop with pointed tip. Leaflet undersides are faintly hairy and lighter green. In mid-spring, pendent clusters of tiny white flowers dangle from the branches. After pollination, the bladder-like fruits form. They look somewhat like three-lobed eggs or small inflated air bags. They change from light green to tan by early winter. The shrub's foliage only becomes a pale yellow before dropping away.
Grow American bladdernut in practically any well-drained soil, but best performance occurs in evenly moist, humusy ground. This shrub is fast growing and may develop into a small thicket. Grow it in partial to full shade in cooler summer regions, partial sun is okay. American bladdernut is a pretty addition to a woodland garden or shaded mixed border. Allow it to naturalize on slopes above streams or lakes under the protective covering of larger shade trees. The foliage is always pretty to view up close, and the bladder-like fruits always pique the curiosity of passers-by. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)

Genus - Staphylea
Species - Trifoliate
Common name - American Bladdernut
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 3 - 8
Height - 10'-20' / 3 - 6 m
Spread - 10'-20' / 3 - 6 m
Plant type - Shrub
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Partial Shade, Full Shade
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, laom, Sand, well drained
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Ornamental, Mixed Border
Germination rate - 85
Bloom season - Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green, Dark Green / White

Watch the video: 04 Taxa selection by species and common name

Previous Article

Choi game plants vs zombies garden warfare

Next Article

Insects and horticulture