Acer negundo, commonly known as the boxelder, maple ash, or ash-leaved maple, is a species of maple tree native to North America. Here are some key facts about Acer negundo:
- Appearance: The tree typically grows to a height of 10 to 25 meters (33 to 82 feet) and has a trunk diameter of up to 50 centimeters (20 inches). Its leaves are compound, with 3 to 7 leaflets that are coarsely toothed and 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) long. The bark is grayish-brown and has shallow furrows.
- Habitat: Boxelder trees are found throughout North America, from southern Canada to northern Mexico. They are commonly found in riparian areas, such as riverbanks and floodplains, but can also grow in urban areas, along roadsides, and in disturbed areas.
- Growth: Boxelder trees grow relatively quickly and have a short lifespan of around 80 years. They are often considered a weedy or invasive species, as they can spread easily and compete with other plants for resources.
- Uses: The wood of boxelder trees is soft and lightweight, making it unsuitable for most woodworking purposes. However, it has been used for paper pulp, fuel, and occasionally for furniture or decorative purposes. The tree's sap can also be used to make maple syrup, although it is not as sweet as the sap of other maple species.
- Ecological importance: Boxelder trees provide food and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds, squirrels, and deer. They are also important for stabilizing streambanks and preventing erosion. Additionally, the tree's seeds can be dispersed by wind and water, allowing it to colonize new areas and provide important ecosystem services.
It's important to note that boxelder trees are not without their drawbacks. They are often considered a nuisance due to their tendency to produce large amounts of seeds, which can attract pests and create a mess. Additionally, the trees are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests, which can reduce their lifespan and overall health.