Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Staphylea trifolia

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia) Other common names: American Bladdernut

French names: Staphylier trois folioles

Family: Bladdernut Family (Staphyleaceae)

Distinctive features: Shrub; The "bladders", which are the fruits. 3-part opposite compound leaves.

Similar species:
  •   Hop Tree (Ptelea trifoliata) - leaflets are stalked.

  •   Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii) - has alternate leaves.

Flowers: Spring, Summer;  White, Yellow;  5 parts (petals)

Leaves: Opposite/Whorled, Compound, Toothed;  Opposite, compound (3 leaflets).

Height: 3-5 m (9-16 ft)

Trunk: Striped.

Fruit/Seeds: Ususual "bladders" contain the seeds.

Habitat: Forests, Fields and Open Areas;  Rocky woods, river banks.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 295    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 318   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: common.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: trifolia: three-leaved

Photographs: 82 photographs available, of which 11 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

This is the unusual fruit that gives this plant its name. The papery "bladder" contains 1-4 pale brown hard seeds. They come loose later in the fall when ripe and rattle around inside.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

A string of bladders along a branch.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Typical Bladdernut leaf.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Bladdernut leaves.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

The compound leaf (opposite pattern along the stems).

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Edge of a Bladdernut leaf.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

A bladder left over from the previous year. Spring flowers of this plant (in early June) are visible in the background.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Bladdernut flowers in early May.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

The trunk of Bladdernut has a striped pattern to it.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Bladdernut buds in April.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

Range map for Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)