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Boxelder

Botanical Name:

Acer negundo

Common Name:

Boxelder,Box elder,Box elder maple,Ash-leaved maple,Ashleaf maple,Red river maple,Fresno de guajuco,Ash-Leaf Maple

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Description

Acer negundo is a fast-growing and fairly short-lived tree that grows up to 10–25 m (35–80 ft) tall, with a trunk diameter of 30–50 cm (12–20 in)}, rarely up to 1 m (3.3 ft)} diameter. It often has several trunks and can form impenetrable thickets. The typical lifespan of box elder is only 60 years. Under exceptionally favorable conditions, it may live to 100 years.The shoots are green, often with a whitish to pink or violet waxy coating when young. Branches are smooth, somewhat brittle, and tend to retain a fresh green color rather than forming a bark of dead, protective tissue. The bark on its trunks is pale gray or light brown, deeply cleft into broad ridges, and scaly.Unlike most other maples (which usually have simple, palmately lobed leaves), Acer negundo has pinnately compound leaves that usually have three to seven leaflets. Simple leaves are also occasionally present; technically, these are single-leaflet compound leaves. Although some other maples (such as Acer griseum, Acer mandshuricum and the closely related A. cissifolium) have trifoliate leaves, only A. negundo regularly displays more than three leaflets. The leaflets are about 5–10 cm (2–4 in)} long and 3–7 cm (1 ⁄4–2 ⁄4 in)} wide with slightly serrate margins. Leaves have a translucent light green color and turn yellow in the fall. The yellow-green flowers are small and appear in early spring, with staminate flowers in clusters on slender pedicels and pistillate flowers on drooping racemes 10–20 cm (4–8 in)} long. The fruits are paired samaras on drooping racemes, each seed slender, 1–2 cm (⁄2–⁄4 in)} long, with a 2–3 cm (⁄4–1 ⁄4 in)} incurved wing; they drop in autumn or they may persist through winter. Seeds are usually both prolific and fertile.Unlike most other maples, A. negundo is fully dioecious and both a male and female tree are needed for reproduction to occur.   Leaves and flowers   Leaves and fruit   Autumn leaf color   Retained seeds in winter   Seedling   Sprawling, multi-stemmed growth form

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Taxonomy

Order

Sapindales

Family

Sapindaceae

Genus

Acer

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Spring, Mar, Apr

Plant Type

Tree

Lifespan

Woody, Perennial

Plant Height

36-72 ft.

Flower

Dioecious. Male trees have more attractive flowers - yellow-green corymbs, early bloomer. Blooms March-April., Flowers insignificant. Male and female borne on separate trees, several in a cluster, greenish yellow, appearing as the leaves begin to unfold.

Fruit

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 is not particularly attractive., 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.

How to Grow

Water

Medium

Sunlight

Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Sun

Soil

Variable.

Benefits
Ornamental

This hardy, fast-growing tree can survive dry and extremely cold conditions, so it is widely planted as a shade and shelterbelt tree.

Attracts

Butterflies

Moths

Pollinators

Small Mammals

Songbirds

Warning

The wood is weak and will break up in ice and wind.

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