19 responses to “Acer negundo”

  1. Chuck nixon

    Totally horrid weed tree in cities. I think it’s natural range is in broad bottoms where the weak crotches split in weather and hinge into ground covering maple imperialism…The broken branches provide shade for it’s seedlings and reduced soil evaporation . The trees can thus cover acres of marginal ground in ten years….

  2. R Parker

    Although weedy, Acer negundo has two traits that have been useful in gardens. First, there is a lovely grey-blue bloom on first year stems, which can be showy against dark backgrounds. Coppicing (frequent cutting back to force new growth) is used to capitalize on this trait. Second, Acer negundo can look very old and picturesque at a relatively young age. You just have to put up with the seedlings.

  3. michael aman

    I will try to have more respect for box elder in the future.

  4. Stephen Lamphear

    In 25 yrs, I’ve had one seedling. It’s not a particularly architectural tree, but it grows quickly and limits the view of offensive neighbors. The variegated cultivars can be nice.

  5. John Voss

    I always remember the shocked look on a friend’s face who mistook some seedlings that I was growing for “poison ivy” which it’s three leaf architecture resembles. An attractive small tree on sharky clay around New Orleans, less vigorous on the acidic loam where I now live north of Lake Ponchartrain. I’ve not noticed any “volunteers.” Perhaps my material is more alkaline inclined?

  6. Bill Day

    It also is a popular tree among woodturners, as it develops a lovely red pattern in its center in the latter part of its life, and is often lathe-turned into very nice bowls…etc… Unfortunately, the red color fades in a few years, leaving a bland beige color. I have quit using it, as I feel the need to be honest with people who buy woodturnings from me.

  7. Burton Noll

    A picture of my favorite box elder. From about 2000 and probably not there anymore.

  8. Ed Saunders

    You have neglected the best part of the “Box Elder” and that is the box elder bug. If you have ever had them, you’ll love them overwintering in your house. Delightful!

  9. Ann Welles

    Is anyone else having to wait way too long for these photos to open? The majority aren’t opening in less than 5 minutes. Smaller files, please, or I’ll have to unsubscribe.

  10. Pat Collins

    What I would like to know is whether the Acer is named after Vitex negundo which Linnaeus named in the same book. As Vitex negundo is called nirgundi in Hindi I would assume so, unless it is coincidental.

    1. Wendy Cutler

      Maybe. The Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology at http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageN.html says: “negun’do: from the native Sanskrit and Bengali nirgundi, the specific name of the plant Vitex negundo and given to Acer negundo because of a supposed similarity of leaf (ref. Acer negundo)”. The two plants are not related.

  11. Lee Foote

    There are a few redeeming qualities of Boxelder. The first is Banjo wizard Tom Adams version of his original song “Boxelder beetles” (which, incidentally, I have learned to play after about 2 years of messing with it). Take a listen here and see the boxelder beetles too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RF2lpmLBsI The second nice thing is that their wood is not very rot-resistant and the frequently injured tree produces many cavities for wildlife habitat. The cavities are used by flying squirrels, gray squirrels, wood ducks, bull snakes, opossums, raccoons, honey bees and wasps. Finally, the early production of the fruits come at a time of year when squirrels really need them. I like them functionally even if I don’t much care for the tree otherwise. Hard to figure out why other maples burn wonderfully when dried yet Manitoba maple seems an inferior firewood.

    Lee Foote
    University of Alberta, Devonian Botanic Garden
    Edmonton, Alberta

  12. Barbara

    A story in 5 frames about the demise of an Acer Negundo:

  13. Therese Romer

    Thank you Daniel for the fine pictures, plus the lively discussion on this comfortably familiar maple. A great reminder that the everyday can also be full of exotic mystery.

  14. Pierre Crozat

    A negundo is invasive in France! I am in charge of the maintenance of an island on the river Saone, in Lyon and we have to fight A negundo, Japanese knotweed and bamboo…that’s a lot of pressure on one little island!

  15. Clement Kent

    A large A. negundo with a split trunk took out telephone and internet cables in our back yard. We cut it back to about 6 feet tall, with a 4 foot wide trunk. Many years later, every year sprouts grow 6-10 feet, keeping me very busy with the pruning, but I leave the tree alive for the wildlife benefits.

  16. Dana D

    I have a neighbor who’s property backs up to a creek and box elder maples are distributed through the creek area (unwitting people have sprayed the foliage with RoundUp think it is a poison ivy tree). The front yard has a few Goldenrain trees (Koelruteria). I cannot IMAGINE the nuisance they must deal with every late winter with box elder bug invasions!

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