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Staphylea colchica

Phonetic Spelling
staf-FY-lee-a KOHL-chik-uh
Description

Staphylea colchica, or Colchis Bladdernut, is an upright, flowering, heavily branched deciduous shrub or small tree, maturing to 10 to 15 feet high and wide. Also known as Caucasian Bladdernut, the shrub is suckering and thicket-forming. It is native to forests at elevations up to 4000 feet in the southern Caucasus mountains. In addition to the attraction of its fragrant blossoms, the seed pods are curiously attractive and remain visible on the shrub in summer and fall. Many gardeners consider this species and its varieties to be the most ornamentally attractive (flowers and fruits) of the bladdernuts.

This plant prefers evenly moist, rich, loamy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade and does best in partial shade. It will tolerate a wide range of soils as long as they are not too dry. It is winter hardy to USDA Zone 6 and should be sited in a protected, south-facing location. Some winter dieback may occur in harsh winters. Do not allow soils to dry out. You can propagate  the plant by seeds, cuttings and suckers. A very ornamental plant, it is fairly fast-growing when young, but slows with age. It flowers best in years that follow hot summers.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and twig blight may occur. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Coulombieri
Coulombieri
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#fragrant flowers#tree#ornamental interest#shrub border
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Coulombieri
Coulombieri
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#fragrant flowers#tree#ornamental interest#shrub border
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Staphylea
    Species:
    colchica
    Family:
    Staphyleacea
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Caucasus
    Edibility:
    The buds, preserved in brine and seasoned with raw onion and vegetable oil, are a common dish in the country of Georgia.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Flowers are followed by inflated, baggy, two- lobed to three-lobed fruits (seed pods to 3 inches wide) which are commonly characterized as being "bladder-like" in appearance, hence the common name of bladdernut. Each pod contains several hard rounded seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Greenish-white fragrent blossoms in May and June. Flowers (each to 1/2 inch across) in erect to nodding terminal panicles (to 4 to 5 inches long and as wide). Flowers have a pleasing fragrance which is reminiscent of orange blossoms.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Three to five inch dark green leaves. Leaves have 3-5 ovate-oblong, hairless, green leaflets with glabrous glossy undersides. Leaves on flowering stems tend to have 3 leaflets, but all other leaves tend to have 5 leaflets.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Upright; heavily branched suckering shrub to small tree; sometimes widespread.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Hedge