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Acer negundo

Acer negundo L.

 

Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderSapindalesIncludes citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem
FamilySapindaceaeSoapberry family
GenusAcerMaples
SpeciesnegundoName used in India, from Sanskrit nigundi

About plant names...

It is a rather bewildering fact that boxelder is considered by many to be the best known and most widespread of the native American maples. Considering, after all, that it isn’t called a maple, and that many other maples are also common in North America. Oh, and that its leaves don’t usually have the five-pointed iconic look of most other maples. I grew up on the Maine coast with one of these in the front yard, and never once suspected it of being a closet maple tree.

Identification: Trees are up to 69' (21 m) high and about 26' (8 m) around, unevenly branched, with thin, shallowly furrowed gray or light brown bark. Young branches are light green. It is a tough tree, tolerating both drought and up to 30 days of flooding. Leaves are opposite, in groups of 3-5 (rarely 7) leaflets, each 2-4" (5-10 cm) long. Leaf shapes are variable: pointed ovals with smooth edges, or a few spikes similar to poison ivy leaves, or a more “maple-like” shape similar to red maple. The flowers are dioecious—that is, male flowers (Photo 5) occur on separate trees than female flowers and fruits (Photo 9). The fruits are winged samaras.

Edibility: Boxelder sap, though not as sugary as that of sugarmaple, is sweet enough so that it is sometimes tapped for making syrup.

Online References:

Acer negundo on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Acer negundo at the USDA Forest Service's Silvics of North America site

Acer negundo on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Acer negundo at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Acer negundo at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

Acer negundo at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Acer negundo on the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants

Acer negundo on CalPhotos

Acer negundo at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Acer negundo on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Acer negundo on the Integrated Taxonomic Information System

References:

Sibley, David Allen, The Sibley Guide to Trees, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, p. 346

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

1 · 4/4/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, End, Phoenix, MD
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 14 cm)

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

2 · 9/1/2014 · NM
≈ 31 × 47" (79 × 119 cm)

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

3 · 5/4/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 20 cm)

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

4 · 4/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

5 · Male flowers. · 4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Acer negundo description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 20 Sep 2014.

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Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

6 · 9/1/2014 · NM
≈ 19 × 12" (47 × 31 cm)

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

7 · 9/1/2014 · NM
≈ 31 × 21" (79 × 53 cm)

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

8 · Female flowers and early formation of samaras. · 4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

9 · Female flowers and early formation of samaras. · 4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 6" (11 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

10 · 3/20/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd, Phoenix, MD
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm)

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

11 · Female flowers and early formation of samaras. · 4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm) ID is uncertain

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

12 · 4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Acer negundo (Boxelder, Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, Manitoba Maple, California Boxelder, Western Boxelder)

13 · Male flowers. · 4/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 6" (18 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 2-9:

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