American Bladdernut is an interesting understory shrub or small tree found in sometimes large colonies in Piedmont bottomlands and woodland thickets from the eastern mountains and piedmont into the midwest as far as Kansas and Oklahoma. It is not difficult to identify: Bladdernut typically grows 10-15′ tall, with opposite, trifoliate leaves, attractively furrowed bark, and drooping clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers in spring. These flowers give way to inflated, bladder-like, egg-shaped, papery seed capsules 1-2 inches long which mature in late summer and persist into early winter. Sometimes, this shrub is cultivated because of its attractive flowers and the ornamental seed capsules — which give rise to its common name — as well as its tolerance of shade. It grows in a wide range of soils as long as they are moist, and it grows best in partial shade in the understory of large deciduous trees.