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Acer negundo L.
Ash-leaf maple, Ash-leaved maple, Box elder, Boxelder, Fresno de guajuco
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 CharacteristicsDuration: 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:
, Dioecious Inflorescence: Raceme Fruit Type: Samara Size Notes:
35-60 feet Leaf:
Lt. green above; paler under, thin, soft Autumn Foliage:
Flowers insignificant Fruit:
brown seeds 25-35 mm. Paired, V-shaped samaras, 1-1 Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution: ME
to Man., s. to n. FL
& e. TX; also n. CA
s. to s. Mex. Native Habitat:
Moist woods; stream banks; floodplains
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
This hardy, fast-growing tree
can survive dry and extremely cold conditions, so it is widely planted as a shade and shelterbelt tree.
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:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
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.
Record Last Modified: 2007-09-04
Research By: NPC, JSC