Image for Common Hop-tree

Common Hop-tree

Scientific name

Ptelea trifoliata


Common Hop-tree is a deciduous, small tree or tall shrub that reaches heights of 4-5 m. Common Hop-tree may also be referred to as Wafer-ash, Stinking-ash, or Three-leaved Hop-tree. Young bark is reddish-brown in colour with prominent lenticels, while mature bark is greyish and scaly. Leaves are alternate and compound, with 3 leaflets per leaf. The leaflets are ovate to elliptic, 5-10 cm long, glossy green in colour, and sharply pointed. The flowers are greenish-white, have an unpleasant odour, grow in branched clusters, and bloom in mid-June. Female flowers develop into seeds enclosed in thin, circular disks that mature in late summer, and persist throughout the winter. These seeds have historically been used as a replacement for hops, hence the common name. In Ontario, Common Hop-tree is listed as a species of special concern, mainly threatened by habitat loss due to shoreline development.

Planting conditions

Common Hop-tree grows in dry to moist soils with an acidic pH. It prefers well drained sandy or loamy soils, but will also tolerate rocky and clay soils. Common Hop-tree prefers part shade or full shade, but will also grow in full sun, taking on a shrubbier appearance. Common Hop-tree can naturally be found growing along woodlands and shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 5a
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 4-5 m
  • Spread:
    • 4-5 m