I will refer to Acer negundo as box elder.
Species: Acer negundo
(Jones and Luchsinger 1986)
Acer negundo is not easily confused with other species, exept Acer henryii of China and Acer cissifolium of Japan. Acer negundo has smaller leaflets and forms a larger tree (van Gelderen et al. 1994).
Leaves: The leaves resemble the leaves of an ash; this is why Acer negundo can be commonly called the ash-leaf maple (Elias 1980). Acer negundo is the most distinctive segregate because it has"pinnately 3-5-foliate leaves" (Cronquist 1993). The leaves are "opposite, decidious, [and] feather-like (pinnate) compound" (Elias 1980). The leaflets are "ovate-obovate, oval or ovate lanceolate" (Harrar and Harrar 1962). They are "5- 12 cm long and 3.2- 7 cm wide" (Elias 1980). The leaflets are pointed at the tips and rounded to tapering at the base. Irregular course teeth are along the margin. The coloration is light green above and paler beneath. They are also usually hairy beneath. The stalks of the leaflets are short and slender (Elias 1980).
Flowers: The flowers are small and yellowish-green. The male and female flowers are found on seperate trees. Flowers are each on a slender stalk and have a 5- lobed calyx. There are no petals (Elias1980). The "male flowers [are] usually in clusters of four [and their] stamens [are] often purplish in color (van Gelderen et al. 1994). The female flowers have "two whittish stigmas on long pendulous racemes" (van Gelderen et al. 1994).
Fruit: The fruit are reddish brown double samaras that often hang in clusters (Harrar and Harrar 1962). The wings are 3.5- 4.5 cm long and 5- 10 mm wide. They have less than a 45 degree angle spread (Elias 1980). The fruit matures in the fall and is "persistent through the winter" (Harrar and Harrar 1962).
Twigs: The twigs are green to purplish green and have "scattered, pale lenticels" (Harrar and Harrar 1962). The terminal buds are "ovoid, bluish white, [and] tomentose" (Harrar and Harrar 1962). The lateral buds are smaller than the teminal buds and are very short-stalked (Harrar and Harrar 1962).
Bark: The bark is thin and greyish brown (Harrar and Harrar 1962). It has "deep furrows and broad rounded ridges seperating in thick scales" (Elias 1980).
Habit: The boxelder is a small to medium sized tree. It is usually about 20 meters tall and is irregularly shaped with an uneven broad crown (Elias 1980). The trunk is straight to crooked and branches close to the ground. It can have a diameter of 1.2 meters (Elias 1980).
An abundance and distribution map of boxelder in Georgia.
This map is found in The distribution of Vascular Flora of Georgia by Jones and Coile from the Department of Botany aat The University of Georgia.
Acer Negundo (L.)
Continental United States; Canada
|Eastern North America:
United States east of Mississippi;
Ontario and eastern Canada
|Southeastern United States:
AL AR DE DC FL GA KY MD NC SC TN VA WV
|Southern Appalachian States:
AL GA KY MD NC SC TN VA WV
|Coastal Plain||Yes||(Radford, Ahles,
and Bell 1968)
and Bell 1968)
|Blue Ridge Mountains||Yes||(Jones and Coile 1988)|
|Georgia||Yes, personal observation||(Vargas 1997)|