Staphylea trifolia

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This native shrub grows up to 10 feet tall, often forming thickets mostly from root suckers, but also from seed. The leaves, which emerge with the flowers, each have three pointed, oval leaflets with fine teeth, up to 4 inches long, one leaflet has a petiole (D,E). The white, bell-shaped flowers form drooping clusters. The fruit is a 3-chambered, inflated bladder, 1-2 inches long, first yellowish-green, then dark brown at maturity in September. These brown bladders may be seen on this shrub throughout the winter and into early spring (C).

Grows in woodlands, especially in open areas near water. In Fontenelle Forest, common 15 years ago, now only one shrub found at the entrance to Handsome Hollow. At Neale Woods, locally common on Pond Trail.

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