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Ash-Leaf Maple Acer negundo

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser neg-UN-doh
Description

Boxelder has the greatest range of all the maples. In North Carolina, it grows from the upper coastal plain into the piedmont and mountain regions.   It is dioecious, having both male and female trees; the male trees are more prized because they are less messy.  It is fast growing so has weak, brittle wood.   Its leaves are pinnately compound and there are often 3 leaflets present resembling poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).  Boxelder tolerates most levels of light except shade, prefers moist locations, often found along waterways, flood plains and wooded areas.  It is relatively short-lived, can be weedy.  It has little commercial value other than as a pulp tree.

Family name Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Boxelder bugs eat seeds on female trees but cause little other damage, borers.  Anthracnose, powdery mildew, and canker.  Weak branches break in high wind or heavy snow load.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Opposite, odd-pinnately compound leaves with 3-5 leaflets (different than other maples)
  • 2-4 inches long, lobed, serrated leaves
  • Bright green leaves
  • 30-50' deciduous tree, spread usually equal to height. 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Flamingo'
  • 'Kelly's Gold'
    Shorter, highly branching with golden foliage
  • 'Variegatum'
  • 'White Lightning'
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#weedy#tree#maple#samaras#windbreak#playground#brittle wood#buffer#children's garden#edible fruits
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Flamingo'
  • 'Kelly's Gold'
    Shorter, highly branching with golden foliage
  • 'Variegatum'
  • 'White Lightning'
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#weedy#tree#maple#samaras#windbreak#playground#brittle wood#buffer#children's garden#edible fruits
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    negundo
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and North America
    Distribution:
    Across the US
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Pieces Used in Games
    Screening
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wind Break
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Samara, appearing in September or October, 1 - 1 ½" long almost twice as long as other maples. Greenish yellow initially, brown finally; fruit persists into winter and are not particularly attractive.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Dioecious. Male trees have more attractive flowers - yellow-green corymbs, early bloomer. Blooms March-April.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Opposite, pinnately compound, 3-5 leaflets (can be 7-9), ovate or lanceolate, 2-4" long, serrated, lobed, bright green leaflets. Petiole is 2-3" long. The underside of the leaf is lighter in color and pubescent. Fall color is not showy.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Round
    Bark Description:
    Similar to that of an ash tree, composed of marrow-brown, rounded, interlocking ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Cluster of terminal buds
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    Encircles a bud
    Stem Description:
    New growth is lustrous green. Older stems are green to reddish to brownish, waxy covering that can be scratched or rubbed off, leaf scars surround stem.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Pollution
    Problems:
    Messy
    Weedy