Box Elder

Acer negundo

Box Elder, Acer negundo, photo © by Mike Plagens

Photographed along Sycamore Creek in the Pine Mountain Wilderness, Yavapai Co., Arizona, USA. 07 June 2009.

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Small swellings called galls may occasionally be found on some leaves caused by the feeding of minute mites.

LEAVES: Winter deciduous, compound leaves have usually three or five, or sometimes seven, dentate leaflets. Occasionally leaves are not divided down to midrib and in that case are not compound; leaf morphology even on the same tree can vary considerably. The shiny, dark green leaves could be mistaken by a novice as poison ivy.

TREE: In Arizona's sycamore woodlands Box Elder often grows as a small tree or large shrub. Under ideal conditions it reaches large tree size.

FLOWERS: Small flowers without petals are borne early in spring in long pendulous spikes of many flowers (above). Flowers usually before leaves emerge fully.

RANGE: Found in moist habitats throughout North America.

FRUIT: Winged seeds (samaras).

UNARMED. No spines or thorns.

Aceraceae -- Maple Family

More Information:

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Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
The Flora of Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 21 July 2009,
updated 27 Feb. 2018.