Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Anonymous. 1986. List-Based Rec., Soil Conserv. Serv., U.S.D.A. Database of the U.S.D.A., Beltsville. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1103
- Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Choripetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 2. 655 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1704
- Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles & C. R. Bell. 1968. Man. Vasc. Fl. Carolinas i–lxi, 1–1183. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/636
- Small, J. K. 1933. Man. S.E. Fl. i–xxii, 1–1554. Published by the Author, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1515
- Flora of China Editorial Committee. 2008. Fl. China 11: 1–622. Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing & St. Louis. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1032358
- García-Mendoza, A. J. & J. Meave del Castillo. 2011. Divers. Florist. Oaxaca 1–351. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100009052
USA: AL , AZ , AR , CO , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , UT , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC (NPIN, 2009)
Canada: ON , QC (NPIN, 2009)
Native Distribution: W. NY to c. MI, s.e. IA & s.e. KS, s. to FL & TX; introduced in n. Midwest states & New England (NPIN, 2009)
NORTHERN AMERICA (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Eastern Canada: Canada - Ontario [s.e.] (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Northeastern U.S.A.: United States - Indiana, Michigan [s.], New Jersey, New York [w.], Ohio, Pennsylvania [n.w. & s.e.], West Virginia (USDA GRIN, 2001)
North-Central U.S.A.: United States - Illinois, Iowa [s.e.], Kansas [s.e.], Missouri, Nebraska [s.e. & n.-c.], Oklahoma, Wisconsin (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Northwestern U.S.A.: United States - Colorado (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia (USDA GRIN, 2001)
South-Central U.S.A.: United States - New Mexico, Texas (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Southwestern U.S.A.: United States - Arizona, Utah [s.] (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Northern Mexico: Mexico - Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Central Mexico: Mexico - Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Puebla (USDA GRIN, 2001)
Flowers are after the leaves, and are small with a skunk-like odor. The greenish-white small polygamous flowers are arranged in compound cymes (clusters of flat-topped flowers). There are 3-5 sepals and petals. The flower houses a 2-celled ovary, a short style, and 2 stigmas. (Peattie, 1930) Flowers are yellow. (USDA PLANTS, 2009) Flowers are small and greenish white, appearing in clusters among the leaves. Blooms may be white, green, or brown. (NPIN, 2009)
Fruit is a 2-celled, 2-seeded samara (winged fruit). It is winged all around like that of an elm, but is larger and coin-shaped. Samara are often notched at their tip, subcordate (somewhat heart-shaped) at base, and resinous-dotted. The seed-body can be at the center of the samara or above it. (Peattie, 1930) The fruit is reddish in color. (USDA PLANTS, 2009) Fruit is a distinctive, waferlike samara with broad wings. It is green when immature. (NPIN, 2009)
Leaves The lateral leaflets are sessile (attached directly) and the terminal leaflets are stalked. Leaves are ovate to obovate, elliptic, oval or oblong-lanceolate, unequal at base, acute, entire but undulate or coarsely serrate, smooth at maturity, pale beneath, and black-dotted. (Peattie, 1930) Leaves are green. (USDA PLANTS, 2009) Crushed foliage has a slightly lemon-like, unpleasant musky odor. Leaves are trifoliate and deciduous, with leaflets on a petiole. Leaves are obovate (tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip), and the midrib of lateral leaflets off center. Leaves are dark-green in summer, turning yellow in fall. (NPIN, 2009)
Branches The branchlets and branches are smooth at maturity and are light brown or grayish. (Peattie, 1930) The branches are interwoven and ascending. Twigs have a slightly lemon-like, unpleasant musky odor when crushed. (NPIN, 2009)
Bark is smooth and gray or grayish-brown. On old specimens it is rough. Bark is malodorous when bruised. (Peattie, 1930) Bark has a slightly lemon-like, unpleasant musky odor when crushed. (NPIN, 2009)
Plant is 1.5-6 m tall. (Peattie, 1930) Maximum height at 20 Years is 20'. Height at maturity is 25.0'. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)
Fruit samara 15-30 mm long. (Peattie, 1930) The samara is approximately 7/8" long by 3/4" wide. (NPIN, 2009)
Leaves are up to 2" long, with terminal leaflets up to 2 1/2" long. (NPIN, 2009)
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Flower-Visiting Insects of Wafer Ash in Illinois
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, other insects suck nectar; some observations are from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn cp; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia speciosa sn cp
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Agapostemon virescens sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Halictus ligatus sn, Halictus rubicunda sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn, Lasioglossum cressonii sn cp, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum tegularis sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes confertus sn fq; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes eulophi sn, Colletes inaequalis sn cp; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn, Hylaeus modestus modestus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena crataegi sn cp, Andrena cressonii sn, Andrena fragilis (Kr), Andrena forbesii sn, Andrena heraclei sn cp (Rb, Kr), Andrena hippotes sn cp fq (Rb, Kr), Andrena imitatrix imitatrix sn, Andrena integra (Kr), Andrena miserabilis bipunctata sn cp fq (Rb, Kr), Andrena nigrifrons sn cp (Rb, Kr), Andrena nuda sn cp fq (Rb, Kr), Andrena quintilis (Kr), Andrena robertsonii sn cp fq (Rb, Kr), Andrena rugosa sn (Rb, Kr), Andrena spiraeana sn (Rb, Kr)
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Lestica confluentus, Notoglossa inornata, Oxybelus emarginatus; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris compar; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi; Scoliidae: Campsomeris plumipes; Leucospididae: Leucospis affinis; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus, Ancistrocerus unifasciatus, Eumenes fraterna, Euodynerus foraminatus, Leionotus scrophulariae (Rb, MS), Leionotus ziziae (Rb, MS)
Stratiomyidae: Stratiomys meigenii; Syrphidae: Mallota bautias, Myolepta nigra, Sphaerophoria contiqua, Syritta pipiens; Empididae: Empis distans, Empis levicula; Conopidae: Dalmannia nigriceps, Myopa vesciculosa; Tachinidae: Archytas analis, Archytas aterrima, Linnaemya comta, Trichopoda pennipes; Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax; Muscidae: Neomyia cornicina; Anthomyiidae: Calythea pratincola, Delia platura fq
Nymphalidae: Megisto cymela
Noctuidae: Alypia octomaculata
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Ptelea trifoliata
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ptelea trifoliata
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Landscaping uses are possible because it fruits ornamental and blooms ornamental. It can be used as an accent tree or shrub and is aromatic. (NPIN, 2009)
Ptelea trifoliata (hoptree, stinking ash, wafer ash) is a species of flowering plant in the Rutaceae family, native to North and Central America. It is a deciduous shrub or tree, growing to 8 m (26 ft) tall by 4 m (13 ft) wide.
While Ptelea trifoliata is most often treated as a single species with subspecies and/or varieties in different distribution ranges, some botanists treat the various Hoptrees as a group of four or more closely related species:
- Common or Eastern Hoptree P. trifoliata (L.) ssp. trifoliata (Benth.); (P. trifoliata, sensu stricto) - eastern Canada & U.S., central U.S.
- Common Hoptree P. trifoliata ssp. trifoliata var. mollis (Torr. & A. Gray) 
- Narrowleaf Hoptree P. trifoliata ssp. angustifolia (Benth.) (V. Bailey) var. angustifolia (Benth.) (M.E. Jones) (P. angustifolia, P. lutescens)
- Pallid Hoptree P. trifoliata (L.) ssp. polyadenia (Greene) - south-central and southwest U.S.
- Pallid Hoptree P. trifoliata (L.) ssp. pallida (Greene) - southwest U.S.
- Florida Hoptree P. trifoliata var. baldwinii (P. baldwinii)
Ptelea trifoliata is a small tree, or often a shrub of a few spreading stems, 6–8 m (20–26 ft) tall with a broad crown. The plant has thick fleshy roots, flourishes in rich, rather moist soil. In the Mississippi embayment (Mississippi River Valley) it is found most frequently on rocky slopes as part of the undergrowth. Its juices are acrid and bitter and the bark possesses tonic properties.
The twigs are slender to moderately stout, brown with deep U-shaped leaf scars, and with short, light brown, fuzzy buds. The leaves are alternate, 5–18 cm long, palmately compound with three (rarely five) leaflets, each leaflet 1–10 cm long, sparsely serrated or entire, shiny dark green above, paler below. The western and southwestern forms have smaller leaves (5–11 cm) than the eastern forms (10–18 cm), an adaptation to the drier climates there.
The flowers are small, 1–2 cm across, with 4-5 narrow, greenish white petals, produced in terminal, branched clusters in spring: some find the odor unpleasant but to others trifoliata has a delicious scent. The fruit is a round wafer-like papery samara, 2-2.5 cm across, light brown, maturing in summer. Seed vessel has a thin wing and is held on tree until high winds during early winter.
The bark is reddish brown to gray brown, short horizontal lenticels, warty corky ridges, becoming slightly scaly, unpleasant odor and bitter taste. It has several Native American uses as a seasoning and as an herbal medicine for different ailments.
- Bark: Dark reddish brown, smooth. Branchlets dark reddish brown, shining, covered with small excrescences. Bitter and ill-scented.
- Wood: Yellow brown; heavy, hard, close-grained, satiny. Sp. gr., 0.8319; weight of cu. ft., 51.84 lbs.
- Winter buds: Small, depressed, round, pale, covered with silvery hairs.
- Leaves: Alternate, compound, three-parted, dotted with oil glands. Leaflets sessile, ovate or oblong, three to five inches long, by two to three broad, pointed at base, entire or serrate, gradially pointed at apex. Feather-veined, midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate, very downy, when full grown are dark green, shining above, paler green beneath. In autumn they turn a rusty yellow. Petioles stout, two and a half to three inches long, base enlarged. Stipules wanting.
- Flowers: May, June. Polygamomonoecious, greenish white. Fertile and sterile flowers produced together in terminal, spreading, compound cymes; the sterile being usually fewer, and falling after the anther cells mature. Pedicels downy.
- Calyx: Four or five-parted, downy, imbricate in the bud.
- Corolla: Petals four or five, white, downy, spreading, hypogynous, imbricate in bud.
- Stamens: Five, alternate with the petals, hypogynous, the psitillate flowers with rudimentary anters; filaments awl-shaped, more or less hairy; anthers ovate or cordate, two-celled, cells opening longitudinally.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, hairy, abortive in the staminate flowers, two to three-celled; style short; stigma two to three-lobed; ovules two in each cell.
- Fruit: Samara, orbicular, surrounded by a broad, many-veined reticulate membranous ring, two-seeded. Ripens in October and hangs in clusters until midwinter.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ptelea trifoliata|
- "Taxon: Ptelea trifoliata L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2001-11-13. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- USDA - Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree) . accessed 8.24.2011
- ITIS Standard Report Page: Ptelea trifoliata . accessed 8.24.2011
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons. pp. 32–35.
- Lady Bird Johnson Center @ wildflower.org . accessed 8.24.2011
- USDA PLANTS: P. trifoliata Classification . accessed 8.24.2011
- University of Michigan - Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany, species account. . accessed 8.24.2011
- "RHS Plant Selector - Ptelea trifoliata 'Aurea'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: As treated by Kartesz (1999), includes four subspecies, of which three include recognized varieties: ssp. angustifolia (vars. angustifolia and persicifolia), ssp. pallida (vars. cognata, confinis, lutescens, and pallida), ssp. polyadenia (no varieties), and ssp. trifoliata (vars. mollis and trifoliata). LEM 23Jul01.