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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native shrub is up to 20' tall with an irregular rounded crown, forming a central trunk up to 6" across. Sometimes multiple branches are produced from the ground, instead of a trunk. The bark of the trunk and larger branches is grey and slightly rough. Smaller branches have bark that is more smooth and gray-brown. Alternate trifoliate leaves are produced on new stems that are green, terete, and usually hairless. The leaflets are 2-4" long and 1-2" across; they are narrowly ovate to ovate, smooth or slightly toothed along their margins, and sessile. The leaflet upper surfaces are medium to dark green, hairless, and shiny, while the lower surfaces are pale green and hairless (rarely pubescent). The bases of the leaflets are wedge-shaped, while their tips are slender and pointed. The petioles of the trifoliate leaves are light green, terete, hairless, and about 2-6" long. Occasionally, umbel-like panicles of flowers are produced that are 2-3" across. Wafer Ash is monoecious, often producing male, female, and perfect (bisexual) flowers on the same shrub. Regardless of gender, individual flowers are a little more than ¼" across. Perfect flowers have 4-5 petals, 4-5 sepals, 4-5 stamens, and a single flattened pistil that is green and obcordate-orbicular in shape. The petals are whitish or yellowish green and narrowly lanceolate-oblong. Male flowers lack the central pistil, while female flowers lack stamens. The slender pedicels of the flowers are light green and hairless. The blooming period occurs during the late spring and lasts about 2 weeks. Each flower with a pistil develops a flattened fruit that is broadly winged along its margins and about ¾–1" across. The winged margins of the fruit have a reticulated network of fine veins, while its center contains 2-3 seeds. Immature fruits are green, but they become light brown at maturity. The root system is woody and branching. Vegetative offsets from underground runners are not produced.
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Comments

Perhaps the most attractive feature consists of the wafer-like fruits, which resemble the samaras of Elm trees (Ulmus spp.). Otherwise, this rather unique shrub does not attract much attention to itself. Notwithstanding its common name, Wafer Ash is not one of the true ashes (Fraxinus spp.), which are members of the Olive family (Oleaceae). Another common name of this shrub is Hop Tree, because it was used as a substitute for hops in brewing beer. Different varieties of this shrub have been described across its wide range in the United States, but most specimens in Illinois correspond to the typical variety.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Wafer Ash is widely distributed and occasional in Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats included mesic to upland deciduous woodlands, woodland edges and openings, mesic to upland savannas, rocky bluffs, thickets, stabilized sand dunes with woody vegetation, limestone glades, and fence rows. This shrub can be found in high quality to somewhat degraded habitats.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ptelea trifoliata L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)
China (Asia)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

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.
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It is native to the continental United States and Canada. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)

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)

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Physical Description

Morphology

Overall Shrub. (Peattie, 1930) Aromatic shrub or small tree with a rounded crown. The trunk is slender and crooked. (NPIN, 2009)

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)

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Size

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)

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Look Alikes

This widespread species includes many varieties with leaflets of differing sizes and shapes. (NPIN, 2009)
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Wafer Ash is widely distributed and occasional in Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats included mesic to upland deciduous woodlands, woodland edges and openings, mesic to upland savannas, rocky bluffs, thickets, stabilized sand dunes with woody vegetation, limestone glades, and fence rows. This shrub can be found in high quality to somewhat degraded habitats.
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It grows in prairies and sandy wastes, and sometimes in true dunes. (Peattie, 1930) Native habitats are alluvial thickets, rocky slopes, and gravelly places. (NPIN, 2009)
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Wafer Ash in Illinois

Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer Ash)
(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)

Bees (long-tongued)
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

Bees (short-tongued)
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)

Wasps
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)

Flies
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

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Megisto cymela

Moths
Noctuidae: Alypia octomaculata

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Faunal Associations

The flowers attract small bees, wasps, flies and ants. These floral visitors feed on the nectar of the flowers primarily, although some small bees also collect pollen. The caterpillars of the butterfly Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail) feed on the leaves of Wafer Ash; this is one of the few food plants of this species in Illinois. Another specialist feeder is the thrips Neohydatothrips pulchellus, which sucks juices from the leaflet undersides. Other insects that feed on Wafer Ash include the caterpillars of the moth Yponomeuta atomocella (Brown-Bordered Ermine Moth) and the larvae of the Scolytid beetle Phloeotribus scabricollis, which bore into the bark and wood. White-Tailed Deer probably don't browse on the leaves and twigs to any significant extent, as they have an unpleasant scent and bitter taste. Photographic Location
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General Ecology

Ecology

The tree provides food and shelter for birds and mammals. Nectar-butterflies will be attracted to the flowers. It is a larval host for Eastern Tiger Swallowtail(Papilio glaucus) and Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes). (NPIN, 2009)
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

It flowers in June and fruits in August. (Peattie, 1930) Spring and Summer are the active growth periods. Fall foliage is conspicuous. (USDA PLANTS, 2009) It is a deciduous tree. (NPIN, 2009)
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Life Expectancy

It is a perennial. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ptelea trifoliata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ptelea trifoliata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. In New Jersey, wafer-ash is listed as Endangered . In New York, wafer-ash is listed as Endangered. In Pennsylvania common hop-tree is listed as Threatened. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Wafer Ash is typically found in full sun to light shade, mesic to dry conditions, and rocky or sandy soil. This shrub may fail to flower if it receives too much shade.
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Uses

The common name refers to a reported use in earlier days of the bitter fruit as a substitute for hops in brewing beer. The bitter bark of the root, like other aromatic barks, has been used for home remedies. (NPIN, 2009) Native Americans often used the root as a sacred component to make other ingredients more potent. A compound infusion of pounded root was used for lung troubles. It was described as a good medicine and credited with many types of cures. (Smith, 1923)

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)

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Wikipedia

Ptelea trifoliata

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,[2][3] growing to 8 m (26 ft) tall by 4 m (13 ft) wide.[4]

Contents

Taxonomy[edit]

Trifoliata refers to the three-parted compound leaf.[5]

Distribution[edit]

Ptelea trifoliata is the second-northernmost New World representative of the Rue (Citrus) family after American prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum americanum).[6][7]

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:[8]

  • Common or Eastern Hoptree P. trifoliata (L.) ssp. trifoliata (Benth.); (P. trifoliata, sensu stricto) - eastern Canada & U.S., central U.S.[2]
  • Common Hoptree P. trifoliata ssp. trifoliata var. mollis (Torr. & A. Gray) [8]
  • Common Hoptree P. trifoliata (L.) ssp. angustifolia (Benth.) - south-central U.S.[2][8]
  • 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.[2][8]
  • Pallid Hoptree P. trifoliata (L.) ssp. pallida (Greene) - southwest U.S.[2][8]
  • Florida Hoptree P. trifoliata var. baldwinii (P. baldwinii)

Description[edit]

Multi-trunk tree form — Ptelea trifoliata - Common hoptree.

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.[5]

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.[5]

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.[9]

  • 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.[5]

Cultivation[edit]

Numerous cultivars have been developed for ornamental use in parks and gardens. The cultivar 'Aurea' with golden leaves has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taxon: Ptelea trifoliata L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2001-11-13. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e USDA - Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree) . accessed 8.24.2011
  3. ^ ITIS Standard Report Page: Ptelea trifoliata . accessed 8.24.2011
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  5. ^ a b c d Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons. pp. 32–35. 
  6. ^ Lady Bird Johnson Center @ wildflower.org . accessed 8.24.2011
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b c d e USDA PLANTS: P. trifoliata Classification . accessed 8.24.2011
  9. ^ University of Michigan - Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany, species account. . accessed 8.24.2011
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Ptelea trifoliata 'Aurea'". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
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Names and Taxonomy

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.

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