This interesting shrub is native to Illinois. It can be found in moist woodland habitats under a canopy of Oak, Sycamore, Maple, Birch, or Linden. Easily identifiable by the unusual three-sided seed pods, bladdernut also features interesting flowers arranged in drooping white clusters that are visited by a wide variety of pollen and nectar seeking insects, including honeybees and bumblebees. The seeds are also reported to be edible with a flavor profile much like that of walnuts—they can be eaten raw or cooked.
American Bladdernut can be utilized in landscaping as well! This fast-growing shrub would do well in a woodland planting as a screening shrub, where it is protected from direct sun and heat and where the soil remains moist but not wet. Bringing spring interest with its flowers and pollinator benefits, summer interest with unique trifoliate leaves, and fall/winter interest through the fascinating seed capsules, this plant is sure to be a great addition to your home landscape.