Boxelder

Scientific Name:

Acer negundo

Type:

Tree

Habitat:

Mixed deciduous forests

Range:

Most of the contiguous United States and southern Canada

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NON-NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Boxedlers are deciduous maple trees that generally grow between 30 and 50 feet tall. Their light green leaves have 3 leaflets each which can look more like poison ivy than a typical maple. Boxelders produce flowers. However, male and female trees have different flowers. While boxedlers usually grow as trees, sometimes they may appear as big shrubs.

Fast Facts:

  • While boxelders are found across the United States, they are not native to the Truckee Meadows. Despite this, the cultivated and planted boxelders in northern Nevada aren't considered invasive and are relatively harmless to the native ecosystems.

  • Despite having weak wood, the boxelders' name stems from the fact it has often been used to create boxes and crates.

  • Boxelders tree is found in every U.S. state except Alaska and Hawaii. They prefer to nestle themselves among other species, causing it to grow irregular in shape.

  • Some boxelders are male and others are female. The sex of the tree determines the type of flower which it produces. Male trees produce yellow-green flowers in spring that grow near the end of a branch. Female flowers are reddish-green with long, hairy stalks. Additionally, their flowers hang from a common point on a twig.

  • You may have played with parts of boxelders, as they produce samaras (also known as helicopter seeds or whirlybirds) - which can be peeled open and stuck onto your nose!

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

May 12, 2021, 7:26:58 PM