Box Elder Tree Facts: Learn About Their Growth, Lifespan, And Uses | Kidadl


Box Elder Tree Facts: Learn About Their Growth, Lifespan, And Uses

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Did you know that since the wood of box elder trees is soft and brittle, it is not much used in commercial production?

Box elder trees are used widely by Native Americans for making bowls, tubes for bellows, dishes, drums, and pipe streams. The protoxin present in the winged seeds of the box elder tree is a significant risk for horses and can cause vomiting sickness in humans.

Box elder trees are a type of Maple native to North America and belong to the soapberry family. The box elder trees originated in North America but are also found in South America, Europe, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Asia. To be specific, box elder plants are native to the Chicago region.

The cultivation of box elder trees is minimal and purposeful. This plant is mainly cultivated for ornamental purposes but is widely used in other branches. Let's find some amazing facts about the growth, lifespan, family, and uses of box elder trees.

Classification Of Box Elder Trees

The scientific name of the box elder species is Acer negundo. Few botanists believe box elder trees are a distinct genus, but Acer Negundo is not widely accepted.

There are mainly three subspecies of box elder trees (Acer Negundo) initially described as separate species altogether. These sub-species are mainly classified based on the region they are originated or found.

The first is 'Acer Negundo,' native from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains. The second subspecies is 'Interius,' which has more leaf serration than the typical species and has a greater matte leaf surface.

It is native from New Mexico to Saskatchewan, between the other two sub-species. The other subspecies is 'Californicum,' which has larger leaves and a velvety texture to the leaves. It is usually found in parts of California and Arizona.

Lifespan Of Box Elder Trees

The box elder trees are short-living trees with a typical lifespan of around 60 years and can live for about 75 years in the wild.

Some box elders live for about 100 years under exceptionally favorable conditions.

These maples mostly prefer areas that are moist and thus usually grow near wastelands, floodplains, valleys, and surroundings with rivers and stream banks. And they will thrive in these conditions.

learn about trees used americans for making bowls

Medicinal Uses Of Box Elder Trees

The box elder trees have been used extensively by the Native Americans for various medicinal purposes. People in the Cheyenne region are known for burning the weak wood as incense for making spiritual medicines out of them during Sun Dance ceremonies.

The Meskwaki people are known for using the inner bark of the box elder tree as an emetic which is a substance that causes vomiting in case of food poisoning.

The Ojibwa people also use the box elder tree bark for the same purpose as an infusion in water, oil, or alcohol.

An ashleaf maple tree can produce sap as any sugar maple. The sap is further cooked to make maple syrup.

Despite its medicinal uses, several dangers of box elder trees are harmful to animals and humans. It has been identified as a significant risk for horses which can cause SPM (Seasonal Pasture Myopathy).

This disease has several severe symptoms, including stiffness, dark urine, difficulty walking and standing, respiratory problems, postural breakdown, cardiac muscles breakdown, etc.

It also affects humans by infecting them with Jamaican vomiting sickness.

The pollen of this native tree is severely allergic to some people. It is mainly released in winter or spring and differs in quantity by latitude and elevation.

Physical Features Of Box Elder Trees

The boxelder tree is an easy-to-grow and very adaptable species of maple trees.

The box elder maple wood is very soft and thus lacks any commercial value. These maples are classified as male and females, according to their specifications.

Female trees usually bear blossoms that turn bright green after pollination. Another interesting fact is that a female native tree can attract boxelder bugs.

While the light green female flowers look gorgeous in spring and autumn time in the garden under the sun, experts do not recommend that gardeners start with box elder maple. These plants are aggressive and highly susceptible to ice damage.

The fruit and plant parts can become messy. It attracts wildlife and insect pollinators, seed-eating birds, and other mammals. While the focus could be on the plant's fruit and the seedlings' ability to grow through winter and autumn, making the garden look beautiful in all seasons, it is a risk not worth taking if you don't have the experience dealing with a similar seed.

Box elder wood is brittle and weak, making them break easily in wind and ice storms. You can find a whitish wood or one with yellow/green hue when these trees. These maples can grow in any weather, be it mild, cool, or cold regions.

A box elder tree has a short trunk and bushy crowns. Trunk diameter averages 2–3 ft (0.6–0.9 m). They could reach a height of about 50-75 ft (15.2 m-22.8 m) and stretch 4 ft (1.2 m) in diameter.

The bark of a box elder tree is smooth and light brown colored, which turns dark brown once the trees are matured.

They possess smooth, purple, or green twigs with protective layers of wax around them and oval-shaped openings for the efficient passing of gases in the atmosphere.

Their leaves are in pinnate with three to seven oval leaflets. They are dark green on the upper side and have compound leaves.

Box elders can grow in irregular shapes, and they tend to occupy as much space as provided. The pattern of growth makes it look like a large shrubbery.

In Canada, this tree is known as Manitoba maple.

Indicating the ash leaves, which are unlike other members of the Acer plant family, this tree is also called Ash leaved Maple.

Some people look at ash leaf maple trees and think of them as poison ivy trees. These are separate trees. Boxelder native plants do look like a poison ivy tree, but they are not.

Another distinct characteristic to note is that male and female flowers of box elders bloom on a long stalk. However, male flowers have a greenish-yellow look.

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