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© M. Halford
© M. Halford
© M. Halford
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Acer negundo


Common name: Boxelder
Synonyms: Acer fauriei, Acer nuttallii, Acer orizabense, Negundo aceroides, Negundo fraxinifolium, Negundo nuttallii, Negundo orizabense, Negundo trifoliatum, Negundo virginianum, Rulac negundo, Rulac nuttallii
Origin: North America
Plant type: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Code of conduct: Annex II
Invasive status (ISEIA protocol): Watch list
Main ornemental function: Ornamental tree


Acer negundo is a medium sized tree up to 20 - 25 m height. The compound leaves consist of 3, 5 or 7 leaflets. Flowers and leaves pale green. The fruits produced by the female plants are double samaras whose wings form an acute angle. There are many cultivars with leaves of various colours and shapes.


A. negundo grows rapidly during the first years. This tree species mainly spread by wind dispered seeds. Samaras can be transported at 50 m from seed producing trees. Seeds can also be dispersed at long distances through water. Distances of several kilometers have been recorded. The species shows vegetative growing capacities by stem layering. It has the typical behaviour to lean forward or to fall down, touch the ground, root in the soil en form fast-growing secondary shoots. The plant also resprout easily when the main stem is cut.


Alluvial forests and riparian zones. But boxelder is an ubiquitous tree with a high tolerance to the soil water deficit as well as shortages of other below-ground resources.


Classified B2 in Belgium. Listed as invasive in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and several countries of Central Europe, boxelder can colonise alluvial forests and alter vegetation structure and composition. The vegetative regrowth causes a strong shading to the lower tree canopy and reduces plant diversity. Not widespread in Belgium. Its environmental impact is limited in Belgium as there are no more large alluvial plains in our country. There is no large population of A. negundo in nature. For more information about this species, click here


Avoid planting this species along rivers or near wetlands, especially in the vicinity of protected areas (natural reserves, Natura 2000 sites).

Possible native alternative

Main ornemental function

Ornamental tree

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