Box Elder is a tree in the Maple genus, and is technically a maple. However, instead of one lobed leaf, Box Elder has leaves divided into three parts: compound leaves of 3 leaflets connected by short petioles. This is the easiest way to distinguish this from other maples. Like other maples, this tree has leaves placed opposite each other on the stem, which turn bright colors and fall off during the fall.

Box Elder is found in the western United States, usually in wet areas such as along rivers. It is a small tree, forming a pleasant rounded shape, about 30 feet tall. This tree is less abundant than cottonwoods and willows, but is still a common part of riparian systems. I haven't seen it used much as a landscape tree, but it should do well in moist areas of a yard, where it has access to regular water and fertile soil.