Sunday, January 17, 2010

Staphylea - The Bladdernut

The Staphylea are a genus of 11 species of deciduous shrubs and small trees native to temperate regions of North America and Eurasia.
They prefer full sun to partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil.
They can be pruned to tree-shape by selecting the strongest trunks and removing all suckers and limbing up branches. They can also be clipped and used as a hedge.
They can be propagated from seed, cuttings taken in early July and removed suckers.
For better germination rate, it is recommended to soak the seeds in sulfuric acid then stratify for 3 months in cold to break dormancy.

Staphylea bolandri ( Sierra Bladdernut )
A large shrub to small tree native to the Sierra Nevada's Mountains in California. Some records include: largest on record - 30 x 20 feet with a trunk diameter of 6 inches.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of up 3 toothed, oval leaflets, up to 3 inches in length.
The white flowers are borne in drooping panicles.
They are followed by inflated, bladder-like capsules, up to 2 inches in length. The capsules contain smooth brown seeds.
Hardy zones 5 to 10 in sun or shade, growing in climates with 40+ inches of average yearly rainfall.

* historic archive photo


Staphylea bumalda ( Japanese Bladdernut )
A moderate growing, shrub to small tree that is native to Japan. Some records include: largest on record - 30 x 18 feet.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 sharply-toothed, ovate leaflets, up to 5 x 2.5 inches in size.
The white flowers are borne in panicles up to 3 inches wide, during late spring.
They are followed by 2-lobed seedpods up to an inch across.
Hardy zones 4 to 7. It has even grown and thrived in harsh Carrington, North Dakota.

Staphylea colchica ( Caucasian Bladdernut )
A beautiful, lush, rapid growing, suckering, large shrub native to the Caucasus region of western Asia. Some records include: 15 years - 12 feet; largest on record - 20 x 18 feet.
The leaves are composed of up 3 or 5 finely toothed, ovate leaflets, up to 3.5 inches in length. The foliage is glossy deep green.
The fragrant white flowers, up to 0.5 inches across, are borne in clusters up to 7 inches in length.
They are followed by 3-lobed seed pods, up to 3 inches across.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in partial shade on well drained soil.

'Elegans'
Very handsome and vigorous.
The larger leaves are composed of 3 or 5 leaflets, up to 6 inches in length.
The foliage is deep green and very glossy on both sides.

Staphylea emodi
A medium size tree native to the Himalayas.
Some records include: largest on record - 30 feet
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 8 inches.
The foliage is
The white flowers are borne in clusters up to 4 inches in length.
The bark is whitish and brown streaked.
Hardy north to zone 7

Staphylea holocarpa
A very lush, elegant small tree native to moist forests in Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei & Guizhou Provinces in China. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 2 years - 7 feet; largest on record - 33 x 20 feet with a trunk diameter of 11 inches.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 finely toothed oblong leaflets, up to 7 x 3 inches. The early emerging foliage is bright green at first, turning to deep green above, blue-green beneath.
The white flowers, up to 0.5 inches across, are borne in pendulous, axilliary panicles, up to 4 inches in length, during mid to late spring.
They are followed by inflated, pear-shaped capsules, up to 2 inches in length.
The bladder-like seed capsules encase the round gray seeds.
The very attractive smooth bark is gray with vertical chalk white striping.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in sun to partial shade. Prefers moist, fertile soil.
It thrives in both the eastern U.S. as well as the Pacific Northwest, as long as not in a location that has frosts late in spring. It is somewhat tolerant of the occasional drought, and is not bothered by pests or disease, giving it promise for urban landscaping.


* photo taken on March 28 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


'Rosea'
The foliage is deep bronze at first, turning to deep green above, blue-green beneath.
The very showy flowers are coral pink.

Staphylea pinnata ( European Bladdernut )
A moderate growing, vigorous, upright, suckering shrub reaching a maximum size of 20 x 20 feet, that is native from Europe to Asia Minor.
The leaves are composed of up 3, 5 or 7 toothed, fine-pointed, oblong leaflets, up to 5 x 2 inches.
The foliage is bright green above, blue-gray beneath.
The white flowers are borne in clusters up to 5 x 5 inches, during late spring. The flowers often age to pink.
They are followed by papery, bladder-like seed pods, up to an inch across.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in sun to partial shade.

'Hessei'
Flowers are flushed with red.

Staphylea trifoliata ( Eastern Bladdernut )
A fast growing, suckering, dense large shrub to small tree native to rich woodlands, bottomlands and shaded sand dunes in eastern North America ( from eastern Nebraska to central Minnesota to central Michigan to near Cape Croker, Ontario to Midland, Ontario to Tweed, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario to southeastern Quebec; south to eastern Oklahoma to central Alabama to central South Carolina ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it occurred sporadically around Windsor, along the Canard River Valley as well as on the Lake Erie islands and the Ohio shore. Some records include: largest on record - 36 x 37 feet with a trunk diameter of 7 inches. Short-lived, 50 years is about the maximum life expectancy.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 sharply-toothed leaflets, up to 4 x 3 inches. The foliage is deep green above, fine hairy beneath; turning yellow during autumn. The foliage emerges early in spring.
The white, bell-shaped flowers, up to 0.5 inches, are borne in clusters, up to 4 inches in length, during late spring.
They are followed by 3 lobed fruit, up to 1.5 inches across. These bladder-like capsules contain large black seeds. The oily black seeds are tasty and comparable and eaten the same way as Pistacios.
The bark is smooth and grayish with white stripes.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in partial to full shade on well drained soil. It is tolerant of temporary flooding and is very alkaline tolerant.

* photos taken on June 30 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on May 3 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken by W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photos taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

* photos taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


Tapiscia sinensis ( False Pistacio )
The one and only member of the Tapiscia genus, is related to the Staphylea. It is a medium size tree native to central China where it is endangered. Some records include: 1st year - 3.5 feet; 15 years - 17 feet ( average ); largest on record - 100 feet.
The pinnate leaves, up to 18 inches in length, are composed of 5 to 9 deeply-veined, toothed, elliptic or ovate leaflets, up to 6 inches in length. The attractive foliage is glossy mid-green above, gray beneath. The foliage is often reddish at first and the leafstalk remains red.
The fragrant, yellow flowers are borne on drooping panicles.
They are followed by ovoid, glossy black berries, up to 0.5 inches long.
The shallowly-fissured bark is light gray.
Hardy zones 5 to 8

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