Trees with 'opposite' branching
at River Bend Nature Center

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A simple leaf is single leaf blade

A compound leaf is multiple leaflets attached along a stem

Opposite branching with compound leaves

Box Elder (Acer negundo)

box elder

The box elder tree (a type of maple) has compound leaves with 3-5 leaflets, each pointed at the end and slightly lobed. The stem of each leaf (petiole) wraps around the branch to touch the stem of the opposite leaf.

box elder

Box elder twigs tend to be glossy and purplish in color.

Ash (genus Fraxinus)


Ashes have opposite compound leaves with unlobed leaflets. There are 3 species of ash common to River Bend: black, green, and white.


Opposite branching with simple leaves

Maples (genus Acer)


Silver maple

silver maple

Maples have opposite simple leaves. There are several types of maple at River Bend, including sugar, black, red, silver and the box elder (see above).

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