Box elder is the ‘other’ maple.

No other maple is native to so much of North America as the common box elder, Acer negundo. Yet, because of innate structural deficiency and a general lack of pizazz, it is also one of the least popular. The smaller and more adaptable garden varieties are more often grown for their interestingly colorful foliage. ‘Flamingo’ starts out with pink, white and pale green foliage that turns richer green and white by summer. ‘Violaceum’ has smokey purplish new foliage that fades to rich green. ‘Auratum’ has yellowish foliage that fades to chartreuse green. Any stems that try to revert to a more natural shade of green should be removed before they dominate. Unlike other maples that have distinctively palmate leaves, box elder has compound leaves with three or more leaflets each.

4 thoughts on “Box Elder

    1. Most plants that are known as box are shrubbery, including some low and dense shrubbery. Elders are large shrubbery. Box elder is a tree though. The name implies that it is a weird hybrid of Buxus and Sambucus.

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