Got shade? Bladdernut is a fast-growing, large shrub that puts out adorable little clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers in spring.
The flowers look lovely against the shrub's dark green foliage, which turns yellow in the fall. Butterflies, native bees, bumblebees, and other pollinators swarm among the flowers.
By late summer these flowers give way to papery seed capsules that look a bit like Chinese lanters or three-chambered bladders--hence the name. The capsules mature in late summer and often hang on into winter, creating winter interest in the garden and also making lovely dried flower arrangements.
Although Bladdernut grows naturally in bottomlands and moist soil along ponds and streams, it adapts well to dry to medium, well-drained soils.
Fun fact: The The seeds can be eaten raw or cooked, and they make a nice substitute for walnuts in chocolate chip cookies (North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox).
Photo: Dan Mullen
Bladdernut, shrub or small tree
- Latin: Staphylea trifolia
- Pollinator value: Very high.
- Current height: Seedlings
- Mature height: 10 to 15 feet with a spread of 10 to 20 feet
- Light: Part to full shade
- Soil: Medium, well drained
- Bloom: Spring, showy white bell-shaped
- Landscape uses: Shade gardens, native gardens, naturalized areas.
- Resistance: Black Walnut
- More information and native range here