Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Ashleaf maple

Boxelder trees (Ashleaf maple) –  These trees grew in abundance at my Wisconsin home, some upwards of 50 feet in height.  In autumn the propellor-shaped seeds would pour down like snow on windy days.  We would collect the sap of the trees each spring and reduce it a maple syrup, which would be given to family friends.                                                   Boxelder bugs attracted by the trees would shelter in our home in the winter.  I remember them fondly as a first sign of changing seasons.  However, a recent wave of unknown disease or fungus has caused the death of many of the old trees.  By many riversides in Wisconsin forests of dead trees can be found. One year those dead in our yard grew elm oyster mushrooms [Hypsizygus ulmarius] which were collected and eaten [e-mail, February 2023].

Images:  main, planted, Brompton Cemetery, London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, February 2023; inset, planted, Murcia, Spain, April 2023.