California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Acer negundo californicum ~ California Box Elder, Boxelder

Acer negundo californicum grows throughout much of California up to an elevation of 6000 feet. The California Box Elder is often found along rivers and streams, and also be found where the groundwater can be reached by its extensive root system. A well sited tree is quite drought tolerant once established. Acer negundo californicum is a fairly fast growing tree typically to 30 feet tall and wide, though it can grow significantly larger in a wind protected location. The California Box Elder usually is multi-trunked and can become quite bushy if it is not thinned. The trees will frequently lose branches if not thinned and shaped. The trunk of the California Box Elder can get to 3 feet in diameter. Acer negundo californicum is often found mixed with oaks, willows, and cottonwoods in the riparian zone along rivers and is typically one of the smaller trees in this mix. The species, Acer negundo, is native to much of North America. Acer negundo has small flowers in the Spring and winged fruit in the Fall. A brisk Fall breeze can send the seeds spinning in the breeze like miniature helicopters, often landing several 100 feet from the tree. There are a number of popular cultivated varieties.

Acer negundo californicum, California Box Elder

Fall foliage and seeds of Acer negundo californica the California Box Elder. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

California Native Trees that reliably produce Colorful Fall Foliage in our dry climate:
Acer macrophyllum
Acer negundo californicum
Cornus nuttallii
Fraxinus dipetala
Juglans californica
Platanus racemosa
Populus fremontii
Quercus douglassii
Quercus garryana
Quercus kelloggii
Quercus lobata
Salix lasiolepis