Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Acer negundo L.
- Family: Maple (Aceraceae)
- Flowering: April-May
- Field Marks: The box elder has opposite leaves divided into 3 or 5 or 7 leaflets. It differs from
ashes by its green twigs and paired fruits.
- Habitat: Wet woods, along streams, damp thickets.
- Habit: Tree up to 60 feet tall with a wide-spreading crown.
- Bark: Light brown, ridged when young, becoming deeply furrowed with age.
- Twigs: Smooth, green, shiny, with white dots (lenticels).
- Leaves: Opposite, pinnately compound, with 3, 5, or 7 leaflets; each leaflet elliptic to ovate,
pointed at the tip, tapering or rounded at the base, usually coarsely toothed along the edges, light
green and smooth on the upper surface, paler on the lower surface, up to 4 inches long.
- Flowers: Male and female borne on separate trees, several in a cluster, greenish yellow, appearing
as the leaves begin to unfold.
- Sepals: Minute.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: Usually 8.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, 2-parted.
- Fruits: Samaras 1-seeded, pale yellow, many, in long, drooping clusters, each one 1 1/2-2 inches
long, maturing in autumn and persisting in the spring.
- Notes: The lower surface of the leaflets is sometimes hairy. The wood of the box-eider is soft,
weak, and white. It has been used for paper pulp. The pollen of this wind-pollinated species may
cause hay fever.
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