Acer negundo
    by Vanessa Vargas

    Common Names of Acer negundo
    Box elder, ash maple, ash-leaf maple, black ash, boxelder maple, California boxelder, cut-leaved maple, inland boxelder, manitoba maple, negundo maple red river maple, stinking ash, sugar ash, three-leaved maple, western boxelder, (Windsor) eschenahorn (van Gelderen et al. 1994)

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    Photograph taken by Vanessa Vargas (8/7/97): at Sam's farm in the 1 hectare plot. The coordinates are (1,40,90).

    I will refer to Acer negundo as box elder.

    Kingdom: Metaphyta
    Division: Magnoliophyta
    Class: Magnoliopsida
    Subclass: Rosidae
    Order: Sapindales
    Family: Aceraceae
    Genus: Acer
    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).

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    Photograph taken by Vanessa Vargas (8/7/97): at Sam's farm in the 1 hectare plot. The coordinates are (1,40,90).

    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).

    Scientific References
    Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas is a key by Radford, Ahles, and Bell that identifies Acer negundo. It was first described in the book by Linnaeus called Species Plantarum on May 1, 1753 (Stafleu and Cowan 1981).

    The authority and location where deposited
    The authority who described Acer negundo was Carl von Linnaeus (Hooker et al. 1895). Linnaeus deposited Acer negundo at the Linnaean Herbarium at the Linnean Society of London (Stafleu and Cowan 1981). It is also deposited at the herbarium of The University of Georgia.

    An abundance and distribution map of boxelder in Georgia.

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    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.)

    North America:
    Continental United States; Canada
    Yes (Elias 1980)
    Eastern North America:
    United States east of Mississippi;
    Ontario and eastern Canada
    Yes (Elias 1980)
    Southeastern United States:
    Yes (Elias 1980)
    Southern Appalachian States:
    Yes (Elias 1980)
    Coastal Plain Yes (Radford, Ahles,

    and Bell 1968)

    Piedmont Yes (Radford, Ahles,

    and Bell 1968)

    Blue Ridge Mountains Yes (Jones and Coile 1988)
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Yes (Preston 1976)
    Georgia Yes, personal observation (Vargas 1997)

    The Habitat of Acer negundo

         The native locations of the boxelder are the "banks of bottomland streams and the margins of ponds and swamps" (Grimm 1962). One can also find the boxelder on drier soils associated with many hard woods (Harrar and Harrar 1962). The best development of the boxelder occurs in the "lower Ohio and Mississippi valley" (Grimm 1962).

    The Life Conditions of Acer negundo

         The boxelder grows quickly the first 15 to 20 years, and then, it grows slowly being able to live 75 to 100 years. The branches of the boxelder are brittle, and the timber is of poor quality (van Gelderen et al. 1994). It used to be planted on street sides, but it's abundant fruits made it undesirable for street-side situations (Elias 1980).

    Economic Uses and Interesting Information

         The boxelder is used for "cheap furniture, woodenware, boxes, crates, pulpwood, and also for chemical distillation" (Grimm 1962). Small amounts of white sugar can be made from the sap at a local level. It is said to be of very good quality (Grimm 1962).
         According to Lewis and Elvin-Lewis, an active compound coming from triterpenoid saponins can be found in boxelder, and it is used in cancer chemo therapeutic drugs (1977). {did not read}

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