South Dakota Native Plant Research
Aceraceae : Acer negundo

Aceraceae : Acer negundo


Download Bark: Deeply furrowed bark of Boxelder is gray to brown in color. (1.1 MB)

Download The leaves are pinnately compound with 3-5 leaflets. (1021 KB)

Download Flowering: The flowers are unisexual.- male (984 KB)

Download Fruiting: The fruit of Boxelder is a schizocarp. (1.0 MB)

Download Flowering: The flowers are unisexual.- female (1.0 MB)

Download Mature tree (793 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Ash-leaf maple, California boxelder, western boxelder, Manitoba maple

Native American Name

Lakota: cansuska


Acer negundo is a perennial short-lived tree growing to about 25 to 35 meters. Leaves are opposite compound pinnate with three to seven leaflets. Leaflets are 5 to 10 centimeters long and three to seven centimeters wide. Flowers appear in the spring with staminate flowers that have 3-5 stamens, hang in clusters at the tips of branches and are often maroon in color. Pistillate flowers on drooping clusters of 6-12 flowers having 3-5 sepals and a 2-parted style. The fruit is a winged double samara. The trees are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees.

Additional Notes

As with many maples, the sap can be tapped in the spring and boiled down to syrup or crystalline sugar.

The Lakota name, "Cansuska" means crawling up and looking for sweet sap.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect fruits (samaras) in June or July
Germination: Plant in moist soil when fruits begin dropping from the trees
Vegetative Propagation: Can be propagated using stem tip cuttings during the summer. Requires rooting hormones,
Soils: Appear to adapt to most soil types
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Grow best where ample water is available

Aceraceae : Acer negundo