Box Elder or Ashleaf MapleAcer negundo
Sapindaceae or Soapberry Family
(the maples used to be separated out in their own family, the Aceraceae)  

Medium-sized tree with furrowed bark.  Leaves opposite each other, with 3 to 5 (rarely 7) leaflets. Leaflets usually with a few large teeth, and/or small lobes.  Flowers small, reddish, on long stalks.  Furits are paired samaras, sharply bent down, forming a "helicopter," green early, turning brown in fall.   Blooms in early spring; young fruits in summer, persisting into autumn. 

Native tree of damp soils, streamsides and riverbanks.  Very common in Wildwood, in damp places and along Connelly's Run.

Other maples in the Park all have simple leaves. As the name suggests, ashes have similar leaves, but usually have more than 5 leaflets and their fruits are single samaras, not paired. White ash is known in Wildwood, but usually has more leaflets that are pale beneath. Box Elder seedlings are frequently confused with poison ivy, which always has 3, not 5, leaflets, and has leaves that are not opposite each other.

Young fruits
Pair of samaras Flowers

Closeup of flowers

Mature fruits

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