Landowner Fact Sheets

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boxelder Acer negundo play

Boxelder is a common tree of generally small size and great tolerance. It is common in waste areas and is considered by some to be weed-like in nature. It can be used as a street tree in harsh urban environments and a soil stabilizer in disturbed areas.

range map Click to see more images. fall color

Intentional regeneration of boxelder is uncommon. It can sometimes be difficult to keep boxelder from invading sites following disturbance.

Most common on deep, fertile sites; aggressive pioneer in disturbed areas.


Medium sized tree to 60 feet, typically with poor form and multiple trunks; sprouts often occur on bole.

Timber Value
Boxelder is used for boxes, rough construction lumber, cheap furniture and woodenwares.

Wildlife Value
Birds and squirrels eat boxelder seeds. Deer browse plant parts during the fall.
Attracts birds, squirrels, deer

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Boxelder has little, if any commercial use. The wood is susceptible to storm damage. Native Americans from the Plains used to make a syrup out of the sap - not so sweet as that made from sugar maple sap. Because of its compound leaves, boxelder is sometimes referred to as "ashleaf" maple.

Latin Meaning
Acer: Latin name - sharp (leaves or used as lances) or Celtic "ac" (hard) / negundo: Latinized form of Malayan name - leaves resemble genus Vitex

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.