American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)
Staphylaceae, the bladdernut family

How to recognize American bladdernut. This is our only shrub with oppositely arranged trifoliolate leaves. They have exceptionally long petioles (leafstalks). The leaflets are finely serrate.

American bladdernut

Flowers and fruits. The flowers are about 1 cm. long, long-stalked, arranged in drooping several-flowered clusters.

American bladdernut flower clusters

Each blossom is radially symmetric, with 5 small cream-colored petals barely extending beyond the pale green sepals.

American bladdernut flowers

The fruits are inflated bladder-like capsules containing a few hard spherical seeds.

American bladdernut fruits

Where to find American bladdernut.  E. Lucy Braun, in The Woody Plants of Ohio (1961, 1989; The Ohio State University Press) tells us that American bladdernut is “A widespread shrub, in Ohio most frequent on shaded banks.”

Scanned Image from an Old Book
(Flora of West Virginia, by P.D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core)

American bladdernut

Ooh ooh. I have a question!

What is the fruit type of American bladdernut, named and defined/explained.

The fruit is a capsule, i.e., a dry fruit containing one or (usually) more seeds that splits open to release them. (Most capsules are compact. The balloon-like bladdernut capsule is a delightful oddity, but a capsule nonetheless)

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