Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) (12638 bytes) Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) The Hoptree can be grown as a shrub or small trees, growing to 20 feet in height with a broad crown.  It has a straight, slender trunk, about 8 inches in diameter. A native, it can be found growing in Colorado at elevations from 5000 to 9000 feet. Other names for the hoptree include Wafer Ash, Pickaway Anise, and Quininetree. This tree can adapt to a wide range of growing conditions, growing well in full sun or partial shade. It is at home with some moisture or on dry rocky situations, and in soils with a pH range of 6-8. Hoptree is hardy in zones 3 to 9.This species is susceptible to attack by treehoppers and may have twigs blackened by the sooty mold that grows on the honeydew they excrete. Leaf spot, rust and scale can be problematic.
hoptree foliage (5744 bytes) hoptree foliage in fall (4830 bytes)     Leaves are dark green and compound with 3   smooth, short-stalked leaflets, 4-10" in length. They become yellow-green in the fall.
hoptree flowers (4659 bytes) Flowers are small (1/2 inch across), and appear in terminal clusters in spring. They are greenish-white and have 4 to 5 narrow, petals. The flowers can occur in both unisexual and bisexual on the same plant. Those of the male plants are somewhat larger than those of the female plants.  Hoptree flowers appear before the leaves. They have a citrus odor and attract many kinds of pollinating insects.
 hoptree fruit (8545 bytes) Fruits are flat, circular, papery wafer-like samaras, 1 inch across, and light brown in color. There are one or two seeds in the center of each samara. They occur in drooping clusters, in summer, and are retained on the tree well into winter.  In the wind, they wave and audibly rattle, being said to "sing." The common name refers to the fact that the fruits were once used in beer-making as a substitute for hops.
hoptree young bark (5706 bytes) hoptree mature bark (3210 bytes) Bark is smooth and reddish-brown in young trees and brownish-gray with shallow ridges and scales in mature trees.

Photos: Judy Sedbrook


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Date last revised: 01/05/2010