Box Elder Ash-leaved Maple
=Habitat and Range.=--In deep, moist soil; river valleys and borders of
Infrequent from eastern Ontario to Lake of the Woods; abundant from
Manitoba westward to the Rocky mountains south of 55 deg. north
Maine,--along the St. John and its tributaries, especially in the French
villages, the commonest roadside tree, brought in from the wild state
according to the people there; thoroughly established young trees,
originating from planted specimens, in various parts of the state; New
Hampshire,--occasional along the Connecticut, abundant at Walpole;
extending northward as far as South Charlestown (W. F. Flint in lit.);
Vermont,--shores of the Winooski river and of Lake Champlain;
Connecticut,--banks of the Housatonic river at New Milford, Cornwall
Bridge, and Lime Rock station.
South to Florida; west to the Rocky and Wahsatch mountains,
reaching its greatest size in the river bottoms of the Ohio and its
=Habit.=--A small but handsome tree, 30-40 feet high, with a diameter of
1-2 feet. Trunk separating at a small height, occasionally a foot or two
from the ground, into several wide-spreading branches, forming a broad,
roundish, open head, characterized by lively green branchlets and
foliage, delicate flowers and abundant, long, loose racemes of
yellowish-green keys hanging till late autumn, the stems clinging
throughout the winter.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk when young, smooth, yellowish-green, in old trees
becoming grayish-brown and ridgy; smaller branchlets greenish-yellow;
season's shoots pale green or sometimes reddish-purple, smooth and
shining or sometimes glaucous.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds small, ovate, enclosed in two dull-red,
minutely pubescent scales. Leaves pinnately compound, opposite; leaflets
usually 3, sometimes 5 or 7, 2-4 inches long, 1-1/2-2-1/2 inches broad,
light green above, paler beneath and woolly when opening, slightly
pubescent at maturity, ovate or oval, irregularly and remotely
coarse-toothed mostly above the middle, 3-lobed or nearly entire; apex
acute; base extremely variable; veins prominent; petioles 2-3 inches
long, enlarging at the base, leaving, when they fall, conspicuous
leaf-scars which unite at an angle midway between the winter buds.
=Inflorescence.=--April 1-15. Flowers appearing at the ends of the
preceding year's shoots as the leaf-buds begin to open, small,
greenish-yellow; sterile and fertile on separate trees,--the sterile in
clusters, on long, hairy, drooping, thread-like stems; the calyx hairy,
5-lobed, with about 5 hairy-stemmed, much-projecting linear anthers;
pistil none: the fertile in delicate, pendent racemes, scarcely
distinguishable at a distance from the foliage; ovary pubescent, rising
out of the calyx; styles long, divergent; stamens none.
=Fruit.=--Loose, pendent, greenish-yellow racemes, 6-8 inches long, the
slender-pediceled keys joined at a wide angle, broadest and often
somewhat wavy near the extremity, dropping in late autumn from the
reddish stems, which hang on till spring.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; flourishes best in
moist soil near running water or on rocky slopes, but accommodates
itself to almost any situation; easily transplanted. Plants of the same
age are apt to vary so much in size and habit as to make them unsuitable
for street planting.
An attractive tree when young, especially when laden with fruit in the
fall. There are several horticultural varieties with colored foliage,
some of which are occasionally offered in nurseries. A western form,
having the new growth covered with a glaucous bloom, is said to be
longer-lived and more healthy than the type.
1. Winter buds.
2. Branch with sterile flowers.
3. Sterile flower.
4. Branch with fertile flowers.
5. Fertile flower.
6. Fruiting branch.
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