Boxelder (Acer negundo) is one of the most widespread and best known of the maples. Boxelder's wide range shows that it grows under a variety of climatic conditions. Its northward limits are in the extremely cold areas of the United States and Canada, and planted specimens have been reported as far north as Fort Simpson in the Canadian Northwest Territories.
Because of its drought and cold resistance, boxelder has been widely planted in the Great Plains and at lower elevations in the West as a street tree and in windbreaks. Although the species is not an ideal ornamental, being "trashy," poorly formed, and short-lived, numerous ornamental cultivars of boxelder are propagated in Europe. Its fibrous root system and prolific seeding habit have led to its use in erosion control in some parts of the world.
3. The Range of Boxelder
Boxelder is the most widely distributed of all the North American maples, ranging from coast to coast and from Canada to Guatemala. In the United States, it is found from New York to central Florida; west to southern Texas; and northwest through the Plains region to eastern Alberta, central Saskatchewan and Manitoba; and east in southern Ontario. Further west, it is found along watercourses in the middle and southern Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau. In California, boxelder grows in the Central Valley along the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, in the interior valleys of the Coast Range, and on the western slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains. In Mexico and Guatemala, a variety is found in the mountains.