The box elder, or Acer negundo, is, despite its common name, a maple.
A small, fast-growing tree can reach 35-80 feet with a trunk diameter of around 20 inches. This deciduous tree is native to most eastern United States and may still grow wild far in the Midwest states. Since it is so fast-growing, the tree is often planted as a shade tree and, like all maples, can be a source of sugary sap, which can be processed into maple sugar and maple syrup. The trunk and spreading canopy of the box elder give the tree an attractive appearance and make it a favorite for planting when reforesting or landscaping an area with native tree species.
The box elder is the only North American maple with compound leaves, which, due to their similarity to the leaves of the elder, have given it its common name.
The tree's wood is not much used in construction but is sometimes used to manufacture furniture and small wooden decorations. Not only is the box elder the only maple with compound leaves, but it is also one of the few maples that can is both male and female and can reproduce without the near presence of another tree. The seeds of the tree are encased in a samara that is reddish-brown when mature and can be seen whirling to the ground like miniature helicopters with the first winds of autumn.
Source of Information on the Box Elder