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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Boxelder


(Acer negundo L)

  Boxelder is a maple. Its range is the greatest of all the maples. It is found from Alberta, Canada, to the southern Rocky Mountains to New York to Florida. In North Carolina, boxelder commonly grows from the upper Coastal Plain and westward.

The boxelder's opposite leaves, unlike other maples, are pinnately compound with three to seven (sometimes nine) leaflets which vary greatly in size and shape. They are coarsely serrate and may have one or two lobes. Current twigs are lustrous green. Terminal buds are almost white and are quite hairy. While its three leaflets can resemble those of poison ivy, boxelder bark is similar to that of an ash tree, composed of marrow-brown, rounded, interlocking ridges. The fruit is similar to that of red maple, but the wings are nearly twice as long. It grows quickly but is short-lived. The branches are brittle and break easily, and the tree usually has a poor form. Boxelder has little value, except as high quality pulp for papermaking.
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