Acer negundo. BOX ELDER. North America
ACERACEAE (Maple family)

Leaves like an ash distinguish this maple. Three specimens of ‘Variegatum’, which originated in France in 1845, can be seen adjacent to the Clock Tower in a circular bed at the southwest corner of the School of Education (corner of Escondido and Lasuen malls). The white-fringed leaves and balls of unusually colored samaras attract attention. Acer negundo californicum is native to stream banks around Stanford and may be found growing in San Francisquito Creek at Junipero Serra Boulevard and Sand Hill Road and at Jasper Ridge. The leaf, which usually consists of three (sometimes five) well-separated leaflets on their own stalks, paler and slightly hairy underneath, is distinctly unlike a maple leaf, but the paired keys are unmistakable. A feature of box elder is the strict division into male and female trees; most maples are bisexual (and in several different ways). Original box elder is not highly regarded in the Eastern states, but was used by Native Americans up and down the Missouri River for making sugar. The word negundo is from Sanskrit nirgund¯i, a name current in India for species of Vitex.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Other campus maples: Acer buergeranum | Acer campestre | Acer circinatum | Acer ginnala | Acer griseum | Acer macrophyllum | Acer negundo | Acer notes | Acer palmatum | Acer platanoides | Acer pseudoplatanus | Acer rubrum | Acer saccharinum

Illustrations (links open new windows): habit | leaf of A. negundo var. californicum, whose leaflets are densely hairy beneath | gallery | Jasper Ridge photo archive http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=jrbp Acer negundo

Additions/Revisions:

Name derivation, genus | species The Latin name | from the native name of Vitex negundo (supposed similarity of leaf)

Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library | treatment in Jepson Manual

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family
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