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Ptelea trifoliata

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, alkaline, rich, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 10'-15'

Bloom Time: April, May, June, July

Bloom Color: white, green

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, deer resistant, drought tolerant, edible, fall interest, fragrant flowers, fragrant plant, hedging plant, showy fruit

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)
  • Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)
  • Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)
  • Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)
  • Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Ptelea trifoliata

Also known as:

common hoptree

,

wafer-ash

,

hop tree

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Common hoptree is an ornamental, deciduous shrub that is sometimes considered a small tree. It can grow up to 20' though such a height is rather uncommon. It is multi-trunked but easily pruned to develop a single trunk and more of a tree form. The branches will droop with age but can also be easily pruned to maintain a tidy appearance. The green oblong, trifoliate (comprised of 3 leaflets) leaves are glossy, resembling those of other members of the Rue (citrus) family. These will provide good fall interest as they turn yellow before dropping. The greenish-white flowers are not particularly attractive but they emit a pleasant, citrusy fragrance. These give way to one of the more interesting features of this species: the wafer-like seed capsules (samaras) for which it gets the common name wafer ash.

Cultivation

Highly adaptable and easy to grow, Ptelea trifoliata is native to a large portion of the United States, from the northeast to the southwest. Once established it is very drought tolerant, and can be grown in full shade to full sun. It will thrive in all soil types and is easily pruned, making it a good candidate for use as a hedge shrub or accent tree alike. It is highly deer resistant. It may bloom anytime from April to July depending on its geographic location. Zones 4-8

Propagation

Propagate from fresh seeds sown directly outdoors. Stored seeds will require 3 months stratification at 41 degrees. It may also be propagated from softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings in mid-summer to late fall.

Additional Notes

The common name hop tree is a reference to the use of its bitter fruit as a substitute for hops in beer brewing. The seeds persist well into winter and provide a food source for a variety of birds and small mammals. The bark and leaves emit a citrusy but somewhat unpleasant fragrance when damaged or crushed.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: NJ, NY
  • Threatened: PA

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Sapindales
Family Rutaceae Rue family
Genus Ptelea hoptree
Species Ptelea trifoliata common hoptree