Acer negundo: Box Elder

Also known as the ash-leaved maple and is not a true elder.

Family: Aceraceae [maple] or Sapindaceae, part of the sapindoid group.

Form: moderately large tree with pinnate leaves and winged seeds (samaras); crowns spreading and often sprouting when damaged.

Range: widespread (with subspecies) across North America, but much less common in drier western regions.

Habitat: mostly in riparian woods on moist base-rich soils, but often spreading into openings on nearby uplands; moderately shade-tolerant.

Consumers: seeds sought by small mammals but samaras often empty; plants somewhat unpalatable to herbivorous mammals (with chemistry damaging to nervous tissue), but can be reduced by cattle; host to several insect pests & diseases but severe damage uncommon; wood relatively soft and useful for various hand-carved applications.

Growing notes: seeds germinate in spring, often common in mulch or mowed grass near mother trees; growth slow in shade, very fast in sun.

box elder
Box elder. Image:

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