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Hop Tree

Ptelea trifoliata

Ptelea trifoliata photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in Rackensack Canyon, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Aug. 3, 2008.

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SHRUB / SMALL TREE: Grows to be a small tree in moister climates, but in the Sonoran Desert it is usually a shrub up to a few meters tall with several main branches.

UNARMED. No thorns or spines.

LEAVES: Leaves are shiny with three leaflets each. Note that the leaves are alternate on the stem (Ashes, which might look similar, have opposite leaves). Citrus or unleasant aroma from crushed leaves.

RANGE: Uncommon to rare in the Sonoran Desert. Look in deep shady canyons or in chaparral habitats just above the elevation of Sonoran Desert.

FRUIT: Flat, hop-like seeds with a wide papery wing. Conspicuous when in fruit.

FLOWERS: Small, whitish in contracted panicles. Fragrant.

Rutaceae -- Citrus Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008