Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native shrub is about 6-12' tall, branching irregularly and somewhat sparingly (especially in shaded areas). The trunk and/or larger branches have bark that is mostly grey and slight rough-textured, while smaller branches have bark that is smooth with longitudinal streaks of black and light grey. Young twigs tend to be smooth and reddish brown. The opposite leaves are trifoliate; they have petioles about 1-5" long. Individual leaflets are up to 2½" long and 1" across; they are ovate in shape and finely serrated along their margins. Each leaflet has a rounded to wedge-shaped bottom and tapers to a tip that is short and slender; the upper surface of each leaflet is medium to dark green and hairless, while the lower surface is light green and pubescent. The terminal leaflet has a stalk (or petiolule) up to 1" long, while the 2 lateral leaflets are nearly sessile. Drooping clusters of flowers develop from the axils of the compound leaves. Each flower is about 1/3" long, 1/4" across, and bell-shaped; it is have 5 outer sepals, 5 inner petals, several stamens, and a pistil. Initially, both the sepals and petals are white; shortly later the sepals become light green or dull pink. The slender pedicels are a little longer than the flowers. The blooming period occurs during mid- to late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Each fertile flower is replaced by a papery 3-celled seed capsule up to 3" long and 2" across; this capsule is obovoid or ovoid in shape with 3-angular lobes. Immature capsules are green during the summer, but they become light brown during the fall. At this time, the seeds can be made to rattle inside their capsule; there is a single seed per cell. The seeds are brown, smooth, and about ¼" across. The root system can form vegetative offsets from underground runners. Occasionally, colonies of shrubs are formed.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Bladdernut occurs in every county of Illinois and it is fairly common (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist floodplain woodlands, mesic woodlands, riverbanks, and thickets. Bladdernut is typically found in deciduous woodlands where such trees as Sycamore, Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, American Basswood, and/or River Birch are present. Sometimes, this shrub is cultivated because of its attractive flowers, seed capsules, and leaves.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Staphylea trifolia L.:
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.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Bladdernut occurs in every county of Illinois and it is fairly common (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist floodplain woodlands, mesic woodlands, riverbanks, and thickets. Bladdernut is typically found in deciduous woodlands where such trees as Sycamore, Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, American Basswood, and/or River Birch are present. Sometimes, this shrub is cultivated because of its attractive flowers, seed capsules, and leaves.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Bladdernut in Illinois

Staphylea trifolia (Bladdernut)
(Bees usually suck nectar, but sometimes collect pollen; Syrphid flies feed on pollen, while other insects suck nectar; all observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus impatiens sn fq, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq, Bombus vagans sn fq

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Halictus confusus sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn, Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena mandibularis sn, Andrena miserabilis bipunctata sn, Andrena nuda sn, Andrena pruni sn cp, Andrena sayi fq icp

Wasps
Vespidae: Dolichovespula maculata sn

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis flavipes fp; Empididae: Empis otiosa sn fq, Empis pudica sn; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major sn

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis juvenalis sn

Beetles
Cerambycidae: Molorchus bimaculatus sn; Scarabaeidae: Euphoria sepulcralis sn

Plant Bugs
Miridae: Lygus lineolaris sn

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Faunal Associations

The flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, Halictid bees (Halictus spp., Lasioglossum spp.), Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), Syrphid flies, Dance flies (Empis spp.), and the Giant Bee Fly (Bombylius major). Most of these insects suck nectar from the flowers, although the Syrphid flies feed on the pollen and some of the bees collect pollen for their larvae. Another insect, Thrips quinciensis, has been observed sucking juices from Bladdernut (see Stannard, 1968). Additional information about floral-faunal relationships for this species is scarce. Apparently, White-Tailed Deer are less likely to browse on Bladdernut than other woody shrubs, although the reasons for this preference are unclear.
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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / saprobe
somewhat convex, 2 or 3 loculi, covered by slightly raised epidermis stroma of Cytospora coelomycetous anamorph of Cytospora staphyleae is saprobic on dead branch of Staphylea trifoliata
Remarks: season: 4, 7

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered, erumpent, minute, convex, blackish stroma of Cytosporina coelomycetous anamorph of Cytosporina staphyleae is saprobic on twig of Staphylea trifoliata
Remarks: season: 6

Foodplant / feeds on
gregarious, subepidermal, scarcely emergent pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis staphyleae feeds on twig (thin) of Staphylea trifoliata
Remarks: season: 6

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Staphylea trifolia

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


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Staphylea trifolia

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

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is light shade to partial sun, moist conditions, and a fertile loamy soil with abundant organic matter. This shrub has few problems with pests and disease.
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Wikipedia

Staphylea trifolia

Staphylea trifolia (American bladdernut) is native to eastern North America, from southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec west to Nebraska and Arkansas, and south to Florida.

It is a medium sized shrub growing to 11 m (36 ft) tall. Its growth rate is medium to fast. The leaves are opposite and divided into three leaflets, each leaflet up to 10 cm (4 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) broad, with a serrated margin. The leaves are bright green in the spring, turning dark green in the summer. S. trifolia produces pendant white flowers in spring, which mature into bladder-like, teardrop-shaped fruits that contain several large black seeds.

Natural range

References[edit]


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