Ash leaved maple

Acer negundo ash

Common name:

Ash leaved maple

Scientific name:

Acer negundo ash

Alternative common names:

Box elder

Deciduous tree 10 to 20 m high with a spreading crown and often more than one trunk; bark is greenish smooth at first, aging to brown and rough. Leaves bright green, paler and sometimes densely hairy beneath, turning yellow in autumn; 3 – 9 pinnate, but mostly with 5 leaflets; leaflets coarsely toothed, 50 – 100 mm long. 

This fast-growing species is particularly invasive along waterways (i.e. in riparian areas) and in sheltered forests in temperate zones, but it has the potential to invade other habitats.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North America.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 3. Sterile Cultivators or Hybrids are not listed.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    North America. Free State ,KwaZulu Natal,Limpopo

    How does it spread?

    Large trees that are cut or damaged will re-shoot vigorously and can develop a dense mutli-stemmed habit. These fruit are relatively light and are also spread by water, as well as in dumped garden waste. The seeds may also be dispersed by birds and other animals.

    Why is it a problem?

    It crowds and shades out native plants in sensitive bushland along watercourses, and has become a major riparian weed of a some waterways. It is also thought that dense long-term infestations of this species may cause significant damage to waterways by trapping sediment, causing erosion and depleting oxygen levels in the water as a result of shedding large quantities of autumn leaves.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves: Opposite - Bright green, paler and sometimes densely hairy beneath, turning yellow in autumn; 3 – 9 pinnate, but mostly with 5 leaflets; leaflets coarsely toothed, 50 – 100 mm long. Flowers: Greenish yellow, in drooping sprays, 100 – 200 mm long, early spring Fruit/seeds: Samara - Yellowish-brown, paired, winged nutlets (samaras), in drooping sprays.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Ornamental plant and sometime used for making syrup