Staphylea trifolia L. - American Bladdernut
Family - Staphyleaceae
Stems - Woody, multiple. A shrub to 11m tall. Freely suckering.
Leaves - Opposite, trifoliate. Leaflets elliptic, ovate or obovate, to 10cm long, 5cm broad, serrate, glabrous to sparsely pubescent above, pubescent below. Middle leaflet on long petiolule, lateral leaflets sessile or on short petiolules.
Inflorescence - Drooping, axillary or terminal racemose clusters.
Flowers - Corolla white, campanulate. Petals 5, to 1cm long, spatulate, 3-4mm broad at apex, glabrous, free. Stamens 5, slightly protruding past corolla, alternating with petals. Filaments 8mm long, pilose at base. Anthers yellow-orange, 1.2mm long. Ovary superior, pilose. Styles 4, 5mm long, glabrous. Calyx 5-lobed, campanulate. Lobes to 7mm long, 4mm broad, pale green to semi-transparent, erect, equaling or slightly shorter than petals. Fruits inflated, 3-sided, whitish, becoming brown when drying. Seeds 1-4.
Flowering - April - May. Fruits persistent into winter.
Habitat - Rich woods, thickets, shaded slopes, along streams.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This is a common shrub which blooms
quickly. The flowers don't last long but the fruits persist for some time.
Photographs taken in Columbia, MO., 4-15-04, and at Rock Bridge State Park, MO., 5-22-04.