Staphylea (Bladdernut) is a small genus of 10 or 11 species of flowering plants in the family Staphyleaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The highest species diversity is in China, where four species occur.
They are large shrubs, occasionally small trees, growing to 2-5 m tall. The leaves are deciduous, arranged in opposite pairs, and pinnate, usually with three leaflets, but 3-7 in S. pinnata and 3-5 in S. colchica. The flowers are produced in drooping terminal panicles 5-10 cm long, with 5-15 flowers on each panicle; the individual flowers are about 1 cm long, with the five sepals and petals similar in size and in their white or pale pink colour. The fruit is an inflated papery two- or three-lobed capsule 3-10 cm long, containing a few small nut-like seeds.
- Staphylea bolanderi (Sierra Bladdernut). Western North America.
- Staphylea bumalda (Japanese Bladdernut). Eastern Asia.
- Staphylea colchica (Colchis Bladdernut, Jonjoli). Southwestern Asia.
- Staphylea emodi (Himalayan Bladdernut). Himalaya.
- Staphylea forrestii. China.
- Staphylea holocarpa. China.
- Staphylea pinnata (European Bladdernut). Europe.
- Staphylea pringlei. Mexico.
- Staphylea shweliensis. China.
- Staphylea trifolia (American Bladdernut). Eastern North America.
Cultivation and uses
Several species are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers and peculiar bladder-like fruit. The popular Staphylea × elegans is a hybrid of unknown origin, probably between S. colchica and S. pinnata.
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The Bladdernut shrub is not only decorative, but also responds well to clipping; it is thus an excellent choice of hedging material. The first known use of Bladdernut for a formal hedge maze is believed to be on the private estate of David Kretzmar in South Africa, where a Bladdernut hedge maze is being created to a design by Adrian Fisher.
- EFloras: search results for Staphylea
- Flora Europaea: Staphylea
- USDA Plant Profile: Staphylea
- Staphylea - at desert-tropicals.com
- Staphylea trifolia images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu
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