Three-Leaved Maple
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Three-Leaved Maple
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Three-Leaved Maple, Ash Maple, Ash-leaf Maple, Black Ash, California Boxelder, Cutleaf Maple, Cut-leaved Maple, Negundo Maple, Red River Maple, Stinking Ash, Sugar Ash, Boxelder Maple
Botanical name: Acer negundo    Family: Aceraceae (Maple family)

Three-Leaved Maple is a small, usually fast-growing and fairly short-lived tree that grows up to 10-25 m tall, with a trunk diameter of 30-50 cm, rarely up to 1 m. It often has several trunks and can form impenetrable thickets. The shoots are green, often with a whitish to pink or violet waxy coating when young. Branches are smooth, somewhat brittle, and tend to retain a fresh green colour rather than forming a bark of dead, protective tissue. The bark on its trunks is pale gray or light brown, deeply cleft into broad ridges, and scaly. Unlike most other maples, which usually have simple, palmately lobed leaves, Acer negundo has compound leaves that usually have 3-7 leaflets. Simple leaves are also occasionally present - technically, these are single-leaflet compound leaves. The leaflets are about 5-10 cm long and 3-7 cm wide with slightly toothed margins. Leaves have a translucent light green colour and turn yellow in the fall. The flowers are small and appear in early spring on drooping racemes 10-20 cm long. The seeds are paired samaras, each seed slender, 1-2 cm long, with a 2-3 cm incurved wing. They drop in autumn or they may persist through winter. Seeds are usually both prolific and fertile. Unlike most other maples, Three-Leaved Maple is fully dioecious and both a "male" and "female" tree are needed for either to reproduce. Three-Leaved Maple is native to North America, planted in gardens in Kashmir.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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