Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
James H. Schutte
ACER negundo var. californicum
California Ash-Leaved Maple, California Boxelder
Somewhat smaller than most others of its kind, California box elder is a short-lived deciduous tree native to much of the state whose name it bears. Typically low-branched with furrowed light gray to gray-brown bark, it has downy, bright green, compound leaves with three or sometimes five leaflets. Inconspicuous greenish yellow flowers emerge with the leaves. Male and female flowers occur on separate trees. Female trees bear two-winged fruits that mature from green to reddish-brown.
Box elders are tolerant of a wide range of soils, fertile or poor, wet or dry, but do best when grown in full to part sun. These trees tend to self sow, so avoid planting them near beds and borders. Most practical use could be as a windbreak row. California box elder is not commonly grown as a landscape tree due to its weedy, weak-wooded nature, but it makes a tough, serviceable tree for difficult garden areas.
9 - 1
6 - 9
1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
25'-40' / 7.6m - 12.2m
20'-450' / 6.1m - 137.2m
Early Spring, Spring
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Clay, Loam, Sand
Wet Site, Pollution, Drought, Soil Compaction
Spring, Summer, Fall
Green, Burgundy, Brown
Green, Light Green
Yellow, Yellow Green, Brown
Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees
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