On the steep, rocky hillside above the river, there where the spice bush is in bloom in a sparkle of gold and the rose-breasted gros-beak sings over and over again in in the paw paw tree, there are low trees full of dangling clusters of small white bells. The lowers are compact, tinged with green. They have protruding stamens and pistils, pleasant little flowers held in well arranged groups which spring on long stems from the axils of the leaves. Bladdernut is in bloom.
Staphylea trifolia L.
April - May. River hills, bottomlands.
The American bladdernut is a tall shrub which grows into the pro-portions of a small tree. The upper twigs are green with long whitish stripes. The leaves are compound, in threes, finely toothed, with parallel veins; in groups of two or three, or more, they spring From the woody stems with the flower stems between.
Soon alter the flowers ha\e fallen to the April earth, the seeds begin to form, and these are among the strangest in the Illinois woods. Here are tight, compact, three-parted, inflated balloons. The bladder-pods at first are green and thin-skinned hut later in the summer they turn brown. In Europe the seeds of bladdernut are used as a substitute for pistachio nuts; it is said that the American bladdernut seeds are of similar flavor. They are extremely hard, however, and difficult to crack.
Bladdernut is found in deep woods, especially on the -haded hillsides above rivers and creeks, where cliffs rear high and the earth is black and -tony beneath tall trees.