A member of the maple family, box elder is often confused with poison ivy because its compound leaves sometimes grow in threes (though also in fives). A fast-growing tree, its winged seeds betray its relationship to other maples.
Under natural conditions, silver maple is a bottomland tree while its cousin the sugar or hard maple is essentially a hill tree. Silver maples grow quickly and are often planted as a shade tree in yards and on city streets. They pay for their rapid growth by having rather brittle branches that easily break off in windy and other inclement weather.
The sap of this tree is famous as a source for maple syrup, but its use in landscaping and for furniture is also widespread. In Missouri, sugar maple is a tree that inspires much “oohing and aahing” during fall color season.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.