Ptelea trifoliata L.

common hoptree

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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At Concord

The variety in Concord is var. trifoliata.

Facts About

Common hoptree is a member of the citrus family; as such, its foliage and fruits tend to have a rank and acidic smell. Even the yellow flowers, blooming in June, give off a fragrance that is enticing only to flies, which pollinate them. That said, this native shrub or small tree (to 20 feet or 6 m tall) is an important member of glade and prairie natural communities and its seeds have also been historically used as substitutes for hops (hence its common name).

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Growth form
  • the plant is a shrub (a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
  • the plant is a tree
Leaf type
the leaf blade is compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaves per node
there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Leaf duration
the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Bark texture
  • the bark of an adult plant is ridged or plated
  • the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
Twig winter color
  • brown
  • red
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Superposed buds
    • there are no superposed buds on the branch
    • there are superposed buds above the main (terminal) bud
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower petal color
    • white
    • yellow or green
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a corymb (with long lower branches and shorter upper branches, giving it a more or less flat-topped look)
    Number of pistils
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Stamen number
    • 4
    • 5
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit has one or more wings on it
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    • the plant is a shrub (a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
    • the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    • NA
    • at least some of the hairs on the leaf blade have glands at their tips
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is triangular, with the stalk or attachment point on one of the sides
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    the leaf blade has translucent dots on it
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf teeth
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    • the leaf blade margin is crenate (with rounded teeth) or crenulate (with tiny, rounded teeth)
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf is compound, with three leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    • the bark of an adult plant is ridged or plated
    • the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig winter color
    • brown
    • red
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. trifoliata

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. trifoliata

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Family

Rutaceae

Genus

Ptelea

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