Species At Risk

Common Hoptree

(Ptelea trifoliata)
Provincial Status: Threatened
Common Hoptree
Common Hoptree occurrences map


Common Hoptree is a small tree or a large shrub with smooth reddish-brown bark and alternate, three-parted compound leaves. Its cream-coloured, fragrant flowers bloom in early summer. The fruit, which is produced in late summer, is winged and contains one to three seeds.


Common Hoptree ranges from the lower Great Lakes south to Texas, and from eastern Pennsylvania to northern Florida. In Canada, Common Hoptree is found only in southwestern Ontario along the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair shorelines, on Lake Erie islands and near Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region.


In Canada, Common Hoptree is found often along shorelines in areas of nutrient poor sandy soils, although it is sometimes found on thin soils overlying limestone. It does best in full sun and is intolerant of shade.


In Ontario, the greatest threat to Common Hoptree is habitat loss and degradation due to development of the Lake Erie shoreline. A twig-boring beetle has also caused significant damage to a few Common Hoptree populations in Ontario.


The Common Hoptree is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.

For more information on legislation that helps protect Ontario's species at risk visit ontario.ca/speciesatrisk.

What You Can Do to Help the Common Hoptree

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Common Hoptree. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species at risk recovery. If you find Common Hoptree on your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats. For more information, visit: ontario.ca/speciesatrisk.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Pollinators, such as bees, are in steep decline across the globe and they play a key role in the survival of many of Ontario’s rare plants. For information on how you can help scientists monitor pollinator populations in Ontario visit: www.seeds.ca/proj/poll.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies ; www.invadingspecies.com ; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca ; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca .

Did you know?

Common Hoptrees are pollinated by a large variety of insects including bees, flies, and beetles. Common Hoptree is one of two native larval host plants for the rare Giant Swallowtail butterfly.

Did you know?

Aboriginal people used the Common Hoptree for a variety of purposes including a cure for stomach aches. Poison made from Common Hoptree leaves was applied to the tips of arrows for hunting large game.