Staphylea pinnata
Common Name: European bladdernut 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Staphyleaceae
Native Range: Central Europe
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in part shade with rich, evenly moist soils. Tolerates a variety of soils, except avoid dry ones. May not be reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Staphylea pinnata, commonly called European bladdernut, is a deciduous suckering shrub that typically grows to 10-15' tall. It is native to southern Europe, Turkey and the Caucasus. Compound pinnate leaves with 5-7 pointed, ovate-oblong leaflets (each to 4" long) are medium green. Small, fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers (each to 1/2" long) with red-tipped sepals bloom in drooping panicles (each to 5" long) in late spring. Fruit is an inflated, papery, baggy, 2-3 lobed, subglobose seed capsule (to 1 1/2" long). Seed capsule is often described as being "bladder-like" in appearance, hence the common name of bladdernut for this shrub.

Genus name comes from the Greek name staphyle meaning a cluster from the arrangement of the flowers.

Specific epithet refers to the pinnate leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and twig blight may occur.


Best in part shade areas of the landscape. Shrub borders, woodland margins. Shade gardens. Naturalized areas.