Hop Tree

Ptelea trifoliolata

Common Hoptree, Wafer Ash, Cola de Zorrillo

About This Plant

Sun or shade. Deciduous, with fragrant flowers in spring. With training, it can take the form of a tall spreading shrub, though it’s generally overlooked in formal plantings. Early settlers experimented with it to bring bitterness and citrus flavor to beer. Hop tree attracts giant and tiger swallowtails to the butterfly garden (and serves as a host for their caterpillars). For this reason alone, it makes a clever, colorful addition to any border; use it with sumacs and cedars to enliven any native edge. Preserve it if you already have it on-site; it can be hard to find in nurseries. Since the crushed leaves give off a strong odor, this is a plant that deer definitely tend to stay away from.

Origins: Central and eastern North America.


Generally carefree. Prune sparingly, for shaping only; this is a background shrub, useful for larval butterflies, who will eat the summer leaves.

Use hop tree to brew up butterflies for the native garden.

Min. Height: 12'

Max Height: 26 feet'

Min. Width: 8'

Max Width: 14 feet'

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