Acer negundo

Secondary Names:
ashleaf maple

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

The only maple with compound leaves, boxelder can attain a height of 50 to 75 feet, with a trunk 2 to 3 feet in diameter, but is usually smaller. The tree is generally short-lived and its branches are brittle and break easily.

Range/Site Description:

Occurs in the eastern half of Texas, to the lower Blanco river. It is usually found on the banks of streams, in riverflat forests, and the borders of swamps.


Leaves are 6" to 12" long, compound, oppositely attached to twig, usually with 5 leaflets, occasionally 3 or even 7. The leaflets are short-stalked, 2" to 4" long, 1.5" to 3" wide, coarsely and irregularly toothed, light green above and paler beneath.


Borne as greenish, drooping clusters in spring, in the axils between leaf and twig.


Fruit is a double samara, or maple "key," green, turning light tan when mature, each winged half about 1" to 2" long. Seeds join to form a 90 degree angle and persist even after leaf drop in fall.


Twigs are green, turning to gray or brown on larger branches. Trunk bark is gray to tan, breaking into ridges and fissures.


Wood is light, soft, creamy-white, and weak but close-grained. It is sometimes used in other states for low grade furniture and interior finish. It is also used for woodenware, cooperage, and paper pulp.

Similar Species:

Leaves with 3 leaflets can cause confusion with leaves of poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

Interesting Facts:

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