Acer negundo

Box Elder, ash-leaved maple, Manitoba maple, maple ash, black ash, sugar ash

Description: deciduous tree

Place of origin: North America

Urban habitat: tolerant of roadway salt and compacted spoil, commonly found in vacant lots, pavement openings, along railroad tracks, chain link fences, and near streams and rivers; thrives in full sun.

Ecological function: disturbance-adapted, provides heat reduction in paved areas, soil improvement, erosion control near streams and riverbanks, food and habitat for wildlife.

History: Acer negundo is a highly adaptable tree with a wide distribution across most of Canada, the US, Mexico, Guatemala, China, and in some parts of Australia. Although native to North America, it is considered invasive in some regions of the country because of its adaptability. Many Native American tribes used parts of the tree for food, fuel, and for making tools and ceremonial items: its sap was used as a sweetner, its wood to make charcoal for ceremonial tattooing, and used as firewood for cooking meat. Medicinally, a tea made from its bark was consumed to induce vomiting.