Ptelea trifoliata

Common name: Wafer Ash

Native plant

A rather confusing plant, Wafer Ash tends to be a pioneer species on disturbed ground but also will establish colonies a hundred years old. It may spread or stay put. It might be a tree or a shrub, in both cases no larger than 20 feet. It loves the sun but will grow in light shade. A member of the citrus family, Rutaceae, its flowers, leaves, and fruit are very aromatic. It is the preferred host plant for the giant swallow-tail butterfly, sometimes being eaten near to the ground by said caterpillar. For people, particularly the Germans in old’n days, the seed was used as a substitute for hops, hence another common name, “Hop Tree”. 


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Woodies- Standard Tree
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Plant Details

Plant type


Soil type

Dry, Dry Mesic, Mesic (Not too Wet Not too Dry)

Light exposure

Full Sun

Bloom period


Urban environment

Harsh Exposure Tolerant, Road-side/Salt Tolerant


Prairie Grasslands, Savannas

Growth form

Shrubby/Clump, Single trunk, Low branched, Colonizing / Spreading

Growth rate


Flower color

Green White

Fall color



Mature height
10 Feet
Mature width
10 Feet
Max height
15 Feet
Max width
15 Feet

Additional information

Butterfly host plant Drought Resistant Pollinator hot spot

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