Acer negundo L.

Box Elder

Sp. Pl. 1056 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Slender, often multi-stemmed deciduous tree to c. 20 m high; usually dioecious. Young branches often waxy. Leaves pinnately compound with 3–9 leaflets, each c. ovate, 3–10 cm long, 2–8 cm wide, obtuse at base, entirely green, or white-variegated, with scattered short hairs beneath, denser along veins; margins irregulary toothed to shallowly lobed; petioles 6–10 cm long. Flowers in pendent racemes 2–15 cm long, terminating short lateral shoots, appearing with leaves; pedicels of male flowers hair-like, 2–7 cm long, those of females coarser and shorter (to c. 4 cm long); sepals oblong-ovate, c. 1 mm long, green; petals absent; nectary disc absent; stamens usually 5. Samaras c. 4 cm long, the seed compartment flattened ellipsoid, c. 1.5 cm long, the wings divergent, prominently veined. Flowers Sep.–Nov.

*CVU, *EGL, *GipP, *Gold, *HSF, *VRiv, *VVP. Also naturalised WA, SA, NSW. Native to North America. Naturalized in Melbourne suburbs and surrounds (e.g. Plenty River, Warburton), Myrtleford and Nowa Nowa areas, but probably more widespread than current records suggest.

Variegated forms soon revert to wholly green-leaved plants in the wild. In cultivation, green-leaved sucker stems are usually removed to retain the variegated foliage of the central stem. Many variegated cultivars are grown.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1999). Aceraceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2014-09-10
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Sapindales
family Sapindaceae
genus Acer
Higher taxa
species Acer negundo L.


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Acer negundo in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Acer negundo in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present introduced
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory