Boxelder Maple is notable because of the usual leaves this species has compared to all other native maples. Instead of the normal simple leaf, it instead has compound leaves, which means it has leaflets. There are two other maples in the arboretum that have compound leaves, Paper Bark Maple and the Three-Flowered Maple, but these are native to Asia.
The common name comes from the similarities it has to other plants that are not closely related to maples. The “box” comes from the similar whitish wood to that of Common Box (Buxus sempervirens), and the “elder” comes from the similar compund leaves to the Elders (Sambucus).
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