Staphylea trifolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: bladdernut 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Staphyleaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Tolerates wide variety of soils. Prefers moist soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Staphylea trifolia, called American bladdernut, is a fast-growing, suckering, Missouri native large shrub or small tree that commonly occurs in bottomlands, woodland thickets and moist soils along streams throughout the State. Establishes dense colonies in the wild where it is most often seen in a shrubby form. Typically grows 10-15' tall (less frequently to 25'). Compound, trifoliate (three-parted), dark green leaves (each ovate leaflet to 4" long). White, bell-shaped flowers in drooping clusters appear in spring. Flowers give way to inflated, bladder-like, egg-shaped, papery seed capsules (1-2" long) which mature in late summer and often persist into early winter. Seed capsules add interest to dried flower arrangements.

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

Specific epithet means three-parted for each leaf being composed of three leaflets.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Native plant gardens, naturalized areas, shade gardens or woodland areas.