Hardy and fast-growing tree (Acer negundo), also called ash-leaved maple, of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae), native to the central and eastern U.S. Its compound leaves (rare among maples) consist of three, five, or seven coarsely toothed leaflets. The single seed is borne in a samara (dry, winged fruit). Because of its rapid growth and its drought resistance, it was widely planted for shade by early settlers in the prairie regions of the U.S. Maple syrup and sugar are sometimes obtained from the box elder. Its wood is used for crates, furniture, paper pulp, and charcoal.