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© Raphael Mazor
© Jean-Yves Baugnée
© Jean-Yves Baugnée
Acer negundo - Box-elder, Ash-leaved maple

Synonym: Negundo fraxinifolium
French name:  Erable negundo
Dutch name: Vederesdoorn
Family: Aceraceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: North America
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  agri- and horticulture
ISEIA Score : 9
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1955
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: restricted
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: likely
More on invasiveness: Box-elder is a popular garden tree in Belgium. Observations in the wild are increasingly reported since a few years, especially in Flanders. It is found on fallow lands and along rivers, where the plant is able to establish in artificial banks. Box-elder is reported to prefer moist, eutrophic and warm conditions. It readily colonises resource-rich riparian forests in Central and Southern Europe (e.g. Salicion albae and Alno-Padion). Young trees prefer moist sites, but become drought tolerant once well established. Seeds are easily dispersed by wind and running water over long distances.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
forest habitats: 91E0*91F0
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: likely
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: likely
Natural successions: medium
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: In Central Europe, box-elder is tolerant to flooding and is especially competitive in wide floodplains where vegetative regrowth can be impressive. However, in the absence of flooding, it is usually replaced in the course of succession by more shade-tolerant species. In optimal conditions, its permanent and fast vegetative regrowth leads to the formation of dense clones and to the exclusion of other tree species (Salix alba) and herbaceous plants. It favours replacement of softwood by hardwood tree species and makes a threat for this endangered habitat. So far in Belgium, field observations mainly concern isolated specimen despite a long history of plantation in gardens and green areas. A more invasive behaviour is however likely to be observed in the future due to climate warming.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  04 December 2007
Last update:  11 May 2012
Essl, F. & Rabitsch, W. (2003)
Neobiota in Osterreich.
Umweltbundesamt, 432 pp.
Keil, P. & Loos G.H. (2005)
Preliminary account of ergasiophygophytic and xenophytic trees, shrubs and subshrubs in the Central Ruhrgebiet (Germany).
Electronic Publications of the Biological Station of Western Ruhrgebiet 3: 1-12.
Krivanek, M. & Pysek, P. (2006)
Predicting invasions by woody species in a temperate zone: a test of three risk assessment schemes in Czech Republic.
Diversity and Distributions 12: 319-327.
Lamarque , L.J., Delzon , S., Sloan, M.H. & Lortie, C.J. (2012)
Biogeographical contrasts to assess local and regional patterns of invasion: a case study with two reciprocally introduced exotic maple trees.
Ecography 35: 1-8.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Muller, S. (2004)
Plantes invasives en France : état des connaissances et propositions d'actions.
Publication scientifique du Museum d'Histoire naturelle, Patrimoines naturels n°62.
Mędrzycki, P. (2002)
The invasion of an American maple, Acer negundo L. and the land use in the Białowieża Forest.
PhD Thesis, Faculty of Biology, Warsaw University.
Piotr Medrzycki (2006)
Invasive alien species fact sheet Acer negundo.
From online database of the North European and Baltic network on invasive alien species (NOBANIS).
Porté, A.J., Lamarque, L.J., Lortie, C.J. Michalet, R. & Delzon, S. (2011)
Invasive Acer negundo outperforms native species in non-limiting resource environments due to its higher phenotypic plasticity.
BMC Ecology 11:28
Rosario, L. C. (1988)
Acer negundo.
In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Saccone, P., Pagès, J.P., Girel, J., Brun, J.J. & Michalet, R. (2010)
Acer negundo invasion along a successional gradient: early direct facilitation by native pioneers and late indirect facilitation by conspecifics.
New Phytologist 187: 831–842
Starfinger U. & Kowarik I. (2007)
Acer negundo L. (Aceraceae), Eschen-Ahorn.
From online Neoflora database, Invasive gebietsfremde Pflanzen in Deutschland (Floraweb).
Säumel, I. & Kowarik, I. (2010)
Urban rivers as dispersal corridors for primarily wind-dispersed invasive tree species.
Landscape and Urban Planning 94: 244–249.
Van Landuyt, W., Hoste, I., Vanhecke, L., Van den Bremt, P. Vercruysse, W. & De Beer, D. (2006)
Atlas van de Flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest.
Nationale Plantentuin en het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek i.s.m. Flo.Wer vzw.
Verloove, F. (2010)
Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Pterocarya fraxinifolia en andere opmerkelijke uitheemse rivierbegeleiders in België en NW-Frankrijk.
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Weber, E. & Gut, D. (2004)
Assessing the risk of potentially invasive plant species in central Europe.
Journal for Nature Conservation12: 171-179.
Wittenberg, R. (2005)
An inventory of alien species and their threat to biodiversity and economy in Switzerland.
CABI Bioscience Switzerland Centre report to the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape. The environment in practice no. 0629: 155p.

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