Contact your local county Extension office through our County Office List.

Close Icon
Master Gardeners enhance Colorado communities through outreach, education and environmental stewardship.

Boxelder (Ash-Leaved Maple)   arrow

Acer negundo (ae’-sir ne’gun’-doe)
Family: Sapindaceae, Soapberry

Key Steps


Boxelder leafLeaf: Usually 3-5 leaflets, rarely 7-9. Coarsely toothed and/or lobed. Odor when crushed.

Bud: White, hairy. Terminal bud present. 4+ exposed scales.

Leaf Scar: Scars meet across the stem at sharp angles. May have tiny red glands above.

Stem: Greenish-purple, smooth, hairless but sometime white “powder” on new growth. Powder rubs off. Stem smells bad when bruised. Raised lenticles.

Bark: Smooth, light gray-brown. Narrow vertical furrows.

Pith: Large, white, solid.

Flower: Yellowish-green, before leaves appear. Tree dioecious (either male, seedless; or female, seeds).

Fruit: Double samaras hang in clusters all year on female trees.

Habit: Messy form and seeds. Can be multi-stemmed. Irregular branching. Short-lived. Very fast growing, therefore weak branching structure prone to storm damage.

Culture: Adaptable. Moderate moisture requirements.