Box Elder Tree Identification: Reveal Facts Characteristics of Boxelder Maple

Box elder tree shows that the ash-leaved maple becomes the shabby from a visual look. It is a terrible idea to grow this fruitful plant in your landscape.

However, this urban foliage might be a treasure in some damaged areas that other plants cannot stand for long life. As a street tree, it has a fast growth and functions to set out other desirable plants among this maple outcast.

Therefore, this article is trying to reveal box elder tree regarding some positive characteristics and benefits from the nasty Manitoba maple. This foliage can be beneficial in drought-prone land.


The Appearance of Box Elder Tree

Boxelder tree is a member of the maple genus and produces winged samaras
Box elder Tree

Box elder is botanically that includes on maple tree with scientific name Acer negundo. Poison ivy, Manitoba, and ash leaf maple are the familiar names. This plant features more than one leaflet on a stalk.

Box elder is a common tree in any yard or park. The plant that belongs to maple family functions as a windbreak and land rehabilitation.

Cultivars of Box Elder Tree


Box Elder is one of the most common and adaptable urban trees in North America
Box Elder Maple

You can find some common varieties of the ash leaf maple. They include aureo-variegata, flamingo, and aurotum.

These cultivars have a little unpleasant appearance such as unattractive fruits. Also, the breakage will increase the chance of removing box elder earlier because the tree grows so fast.



Aureo-variegata is glorious medium-sized foliage to grow in the gardens. This plant has gold borders on box elder leaves. You can get the best performance by regularly pruning particularly during the winter.

In the spring season, the fresh leaves feature smooth catkin-like tassels that offer an attractive look. Box elder trees will successfully grow in partial shade areas.



Flamingo leaves have discrete marks of different hues. You can find the pink and white edges on them. This green and cream foliage will be an attractive addition to the landscape in the early spring.

Flamingo box elder maple has a round-shaped crown that forms a symmetrical canopy with a smooth outline. Other features are the white flowers and brown-elongated fruits. This plant is frequently used as a screen, bonsai, and reclamation plant.

Acer Negundo Auratum

Acer Negundo Auratum is the most attractive tree, especially for application in parks, on squares and in gardens
Acer Negundo Auratum

Auratum has ornamental gold leaves. This bright-golden foliage offers great value. The color will not fade because it can maintain the hue well through all the seasons.

The young tree has a light bluish shade in the winter. Its multiple stems create an outstanding filler shrub. Therefore, this variety is perfect for a cutting grown pot plant.

Box Elder Tree Pests and Problems

Box elder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest, however their fecal material can cause a red stain on curtains, drapes, clothing, etc. Pests tend to hide in small cracks and crevices in walls to insulate themselves from the cold winter temperatures.
Box Elder Pests

The limbs that break with cracks make the box elder become an unattractive tree. It requires difficult landscape maintenance. An unpleasant appearance comes from the drooping fruits that look like dirty brown socks.

Meanwhile, eliminate box elders from any location where horses usually graze. The plants are harmful to these animals. The seeds consist of a toxin that will cause the breaking down of respiratory and block fat metabolism.

Box elder tree bugs make the plant worse. Leptocoris trivittatus is a red-striped insect that loves this ash leaf maple. The pest usually infests homes at the same place where a box elder grows. The adults also multiply during the winter.

Somehow, homeowners prefer growing male maple trees since they do not have seed pods. Boxelder bugs will eat them as food. Therefore, if you plant the female foliage, it will attract the insects.

Additionally, the tree pests give off the tarnished fabric and loathsome smell. The bugs will not harm the tree because they only draw the juice from the box elder. Be aware of them since you can get minor irritation and a slight puncture on your skin.

During the winter, box elder bugs sometimes come into your home. To remove them, use insecticide spray or vacuum cleaner around the window seals or other areas. Apply residual insecticide on the exterior walls in the late spring to prevent the pests.

Sealing all exterior cracks during the summer will prevent the entry of box elder bugs. Thus, your curtains and other things cannot be stained by the fecal matter when they reside.

Fascinating Box Elder Tree Facts

Box Elder is dioecious, that is the male and female flowers are on separate trees. Male flowers are yellow-green and the female flowers are more reddish-green
Box Elder Tree Flower

The maturity of box elder tree is about 15 meters tall. It depends on the soil conditions and varieties. The tallest maple foliage reaches 34 meters in height. The crown spreads about 14 meters wide. The plant with broad and ragged foliage head has low trunks to the ground.

Its brown bark trunk is softer and lighter than other maples. During the season, the thick twigs change their color from powder blue to purple-green. When this box elder is wet, an unusual and foul odor comes out of the tree.

Box elder flowers comes without petals and has yellowish-green color. Samaras, the maple-looking seeds, hang in long extravagant arrays and dwell on the branches throughout the winter. The viable seedlings will cover up a damaged area.

The showy leaves are green, but they will turn into yellow or range in the fall season. Their leaflet blade has a 4-inch length. Additionally, the lanceolate bracts have an opposite arrangement.

Box Elder Tree Male or Female Flowers Differences

Box elder has compound leaves, all four species have samara fruits commonly referred to as
Box Elder Samara

The identification of both male and female maples shows from the blossoms. Only male or female type of flower on a plant.

Cyme is the male flower with red color. In the spring, it will appear along with the young leaves. This blossom comes in bundles that drooping on the branches.

The male flowers produce pollen to be released into the wind. After reaching the female tree, it is getting dry and falling off.

Meanwhile, to identify the female tree is by looking at the samaras that are turning into bright green when pollinated. They have a V shape with winged seeds. However, male trees do not produce these “helicopter” fruits.

The yellowish hanging grapes are the female trees. Before the leaves variegate, the blossoms will appear. Thus, the flowering time is similar to the male.

The flowers contain an essential part called the lime-green pistils. The male’s pollen that is blown by the wind will stick to the surface of stigma lobes. As a result, the female blossom will produce seed pods if it is fertilized.

Plant Care of Box Elder Tree

Box elders prefer a cooler soil with humus and, as a bonsai, needs a mix of clay, sand and compost, in equal parts
Bonsai Box Elder Tree

Box elder includes the growth conditions of the hardy maple plants. They can survive in both wet and dry soils, clays or sands. These plants are sensitive to wind, ice damage, and salt spray.

On the other hand, the branches will droop on the ground when the tree grows. Thus, regular pruning is necessary if there is vehicular traffic under the foliage. Another reason for requiring a prune is the poor collar formation.

Furthermore, this plant tends to break easily due to its wood weakness. Sometimes, some diseases occur on the branches. You need to cut back them to protect their health.

The best time of pruning is in the early spring or late winter when the tree is still latent, and there are no open buds. Since the box elder is a weak-wooded plant, prune the young trees carefully.

Then, keep one or three remaining trunks to achieve strong side branches. Remove the central stems and remain the desirable parts only.

Meanwhile, for a mature box elder tree, pruning can be done annually. It functions to form a round-shaped head of the tree.

Cut off the long branches every year will encourage the tree’s bushy growth habit. It has a natural drift to create a rounded crown. Proper pruning can enhance this tendency.

Positive Characteristics of Box Elder Tree

Box elder tree usually planted in playgrounds to beautify and to block out direct sunlight
Playground with Box Elder Tree

The western box elders have positive characteristics that are not found in common ash leaf maple trees. They become a welcome plant with red and yellow hues in the autumn.

The box elder tree decorative interior is drought-resistant, so this foliage is suitable for some dry country landscapes. It can grow well in areas that lack water resources.

Moreover, wild box elders that locate on the banks or near the river provide shelter for wildlife. The tree also stabilizes the rising ground edgings along the streams.

Sometimes, box elder has an additional function when it grows in the gardens. It becomes an excellent climbing tree for kids.

Box Elder Tree Benefits

Box elder tree relates to wildlife uses, mammals and birds feed on the seeds and other parts of the plants as food
The Benefits of Box Elder Trees

Although box elder does not have any commercial value, there are DIY crates made from this plant. The timbers are used as cheap wooden products by some manufacturers.

The wood can be transformed into small decorative objects by hand-working or machine. Importantly, its soft and weak texture is ready to finish and glue.

On the other hand, box elder tree identification includes culinary purposes. The sap of the plant is used as a flavoring for beverages and foods.

The processed sap contains low sugar, so it is boiled to make sugar cane syrup. The sweet can also be used to produce candy.

Moreover, box elder tree also relates to wildlife uses. Mammals and birds feed on the seeds and other parts of the plants as food.

In conclusion, although box elder tree offers unattractive visual appealing, there are many benefits from the maple tree. Whether you want to take advantage of this plant or not, it depends on your personal needs.

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