Acer negundo L.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAMES: ash-leaved maple, poison-ivy tree
  • LEAVES: opposite, odd-pinnately compound, deciduous; usually with 3-7 leaflets, occasionally with 9-11 leaflets; leaflet margins coarsely-toothed near tips.
  • FLOWER: dioecious, drooping racemes; flowers green or yellow-green, flowering in early spring, prior to or with emerging leaves.
  • FRUIT: paired samaras, 1-2” long; wings and seed-bearing portions green, maturing during summer, often persisting on tree over winter.
  • TWIGS:green to purple, stout; lateral buds hidden by dilated petiole base; tips of opposing V-shaped leaf scars meet.
  • BARK: green and smooth on younger shoots; bark on older stems is gray to brown and shallowly fissured.
  • FORM: small-to-medium sized tree, to <50’ and ca. 2’ in diameter; often with short trunk and multiple stems.
  • HABITAT: flood plains of major rivers as well as riparian areas along smaller rivers and streams; disturbed areas on floodplain soils.
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE : eastern US, including Great Plains, extending into Canada; scattered in the western US; Mexico and northern Central America.  [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: Not a desired timber species, used for hardwood pulp for paper, pallets, boxes, etc. WIDLIFE: maple seed, in general, is used by song and game birds depending upon seed maturity; the persistent nature of the fruits provide a source of food in winter; small mammals use browse, bark, buds; important squirrel food; good deer browse.
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. opposite, trifoliate or odd-pinnately compound leaves
    2. greenish bloom on green to purple twigs as leaves emerge or prior to
    3. connecting, V-shaped leaf scars
    4. axillary buds hidden beneath petiole bases

    NOTE: sterile material of boxelder could be confused with green or white ashes but the V-shaped leaf scars and hidden lateral buds are distinctive; leaves are superficially similar to poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), but arrangement is opposite in boxelder versus alternate in poison-ivy.