Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12 - The Box Elder - Acer negundo

The Box Elder

The Box Elder tree is still in winter mode here in Asheville.  Soon, we will be seeing some green twigs and buds. For now, the buds are still not opening.  The bark is very distinctive on this tree.  Some describe it as shallowly furrowed, narrow, with often rounded, ridges.  This Box Elder lives at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.

The Box Elder
This time of year it is especially fun to be able to see the nests of birds and animals in the branches of the trees. The Box Elder provides habitat and food for birds and squirrels. The Evening Grosbeak prefers the samaras or winged seeds, of the box elder more than any other tree. The Evening Grosbeak is a migratory bird. I always hope to see this brightly yellow-colored finch with the big beak. This bird is on a serious decline across its entire range due to loss of habitat.

The Box Elder tree has a short life span of up to around 40 years. They grow quite rapidly the first fifteen years of life. If you ever see a Box Elder stump, check out the colors. This is a photo of the top of a Box Elder stump. The colors are amazing. The red heart wood is used in many beautiful wooden tables, boxes, bowls and cups. You can see some of these pieces at:


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