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I have this plant growing in the middle of my bush and I'm wondering what it is. The leaves kind of look like poison ivy but I'm not sure because there's the two leaves at the back of the stem.


Boxelder ( acer negundo) ; Most often seen with 3 leaflets but may have 5 ( picture) or 7. I consider it a weed.

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  • I wouldn't call it a weed; after all, it's a native tree. It tends to be somewhat weak and sprawl-ly, though, and is not really a "city" tree. It is, however, growing next to your house, so you should remove it as soon as you can. – Jurp Jun 1 '19 at 21:27
  • @Jurp: weed is different concept than invasive. Many trees are weeds, because they produce a lot of seedlings, and if one do not remove quickly, the roots will make very difficult to remove them later. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 3 '19 at 7:49
  • @Giacomo Catenazzi Your definition of weed is interesting, but I've found that box elders aren't really weeds by your criteria because their seed load is lower than silver maple and, especially, Norway maple; they also seem to produce fewer seeds than cottonwoods. None of those trees are considered desirable trees to have in a city (Norway maples used to be street trees, but they seed like crazy, tend to split, and drop their leaves late, so have lost popularity). Box elder was considered a bad tree because its wood is hard to split and burns "cold". they also tend to look straggly & are weak. – Jurp Jun 3 '19 at 10:59
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    My definition of a weed is "anything in the middle of my bush", so I appreciate the help! – dwwork Jun 3 '19 at 16:29
  • The most common weed in my backyard is oak trees, but you only need to mow them once. – blacksmith37 Jun 4 '19 at 14:57

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