Acer negundo
(Box Elder)

Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Aceraceae
Family Description: Maple

Key Characteristics:
Tree grows up to 20 M tall; compound leaves (usually 3 leaflets, but can be up to 7)
  • rhombic to lanceolate, acuminate
  • 5-12 cm long tooth & usually lobed
  • sometimes pubescent on lower surface
  • dioecious
  • staminate flowers in dense cymes with long, pedicels that have trichomes
  • pistillate flowers in racemes
  • v-shaped two winged samaras

General Description:
A dioecious, rapidly growing tree, up to 70 feet tall, often cultivated, found along streams in high canyons and foothills. Its trunks may reach 4 feet in diameter. Its opposite, compound, 6-15 inch leaves commonly have 3 leaflets, but cultivated forms may have 5 or 7 leaflets.
The axillary clusters of unisexual flowers lack petals. The pistillate flowers have a nectiferous disc between the pistil and 4-5 sepals. The male flowers have 4-5 stamens and sepals.

One variety interior (Britt.) Sarg. North Dakota to Idaho south to New Mexico and Arizona. The species is said to be native to every state in the U.S. except possibly Florida.

Along streams of hills, in disturbed areas, planted in windbreaks and yards.

As in all maples, these trees can be tapped for making syrup and sugar.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002