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Acer negundo (Ash-leaf maple)
Lytle, Melody

Acer negundo

Acer negundo L.

Ash-leaf maple, Ash-leaved maple, Box elder, Boxelder, Fresno de guajuco

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: ACNE2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Ash-leaf maple or box elder is usually a small to medium-sized tree, 35-50 ft. tall, commonly with a short trunk and widely spreading branches and light green foliage. It doesn’t look like other maples because of its irregular growth, sprouting base, and compound leaves. Fall foliage is usually insignificant.

Box Elder is classed with maples, having similar, paired key fruits, but is easily distinguishable by the pinnately compound leaves. Hardy and fast-growing, it is planted for shade and shelterbelts but is short-lived and easily broken in storms. Common and widely distributed, it is spreading in the East as a weed tree. The common name indicates the resemblance of the foliage to that of elders (Sambucus) and the whitish wood to that of Box (Buxus sempervirens L.).

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Elliptic
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Pubescence: Puberulent
Leaf Margin: Lobed , Serrate
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Base: Rounded
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: 35-60 feet
Leaf: Lt. green above; paler under, thin, soft
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers insignificant
Fruit: Green samara, brown seeds 25-35 mm. Paired, V-shaped samaras, 1-1
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NS , NT , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: ME to Man., s. to n. FL & e. TX; also n. CA to CO, s. to s. Mex.
Native Habitat: Moist woods; stream banks; floodplains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Variable.
Conditions Comments: Ash-leaf maple or box elder is usually a small to medium-sized tree, commonly with a short trunk and widely spreading branches and light green foliage. It doesnt look like other maples because of its irregular growth, sprouting base, and compound leaves. Fall foliage is usually insignificant.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: This hardy, fast-growing tree can survive dry and extremely cold conditions, so it is widely planted as a shade and shelterbelt tree.
Use Wildlife: Birds, Other Showy Insects
Use Food: Plains Indians made sugar from the sap. When sugar was scarce, Prairie settlers sometimes tapped this tree to make maple syrup, but Manitoba maple is the least productive maple for this purpose.
Warning: The wood is weak and will break up in ice and wind.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Honey Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Acer negundo is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Cecropia silkmoth
(Hyalophora cecropia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FACW FAC FAC FAC FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Acer negundo in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acer negundo in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acer negundo

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2007-09-04
Research By: NPC, JSC

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