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Box Elder
Acer negundo
About Box Elder (Acer negundo) Nurseries Show All Photos Acer negundo is a species in the Sapindaceae (Soapberry) family native to North America known by the common names Box Elder, Boxelder Maple, and Maple Ash. In California it is found in the coastal mountain ranges from Mendocino County to San Diego County and in the Central Valley. It is often found in streamside locations but develops some drought tolerance in maturity if roots can reach underground moisture. It is deciduous with interesting fall color and seed pods and makes an attractive and hardy tree for woodland gardens.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
35 - 66 ft (10.7 - 20.1 m)

Max. Width
40 ft (12.2 m)


Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
White, Cream

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
River/stream edges and wet places in coastal mountains and the central valley, usually as part of a woodland or forest complex

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
3' - 7419'

Annual Precip. ?
5.4" - 63.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.62"

Coldest Month ?
28.8° F - 55.2° F

Hottest Month ?
56.0° F - 79.6° F

Humidity ?
0.14 vpd - 27.71 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils as long as adequate moisture is present

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -15° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 8*, 9*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use with other riparian trees such as Maples (other Acer sp.), Alders (Alnus sp.), Dogwoods (Cornus sp.), Ash (Fraxinus latifolia or velutina), Northern Black Walnut (Juglans hindsii), Cottonwood (Populus sp.), Sycamore (Platanus racemosa), Willows (Salix sp.), Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), and Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)

Wildlife Attracted
Attractive to many beneficial insects

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
2x/month, 3x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Scarification and 2-3 mos. stratification; use fresh seeds.

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Other Names
Botanical Names
Acer negundo var. californicum

Common Names
Ashleaf Maple, Boxelder Maple, California Boxelder, Manitoba Maple, Maple Ash

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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