Boxelder is part of the maple family, but has characteristics in both growth and grain that earn it its own entry. Boxelders are often thought of as a 'weed' tree as they germinate easily and will be among the first to spring up in scrub land. The limbs of the tree are somewhat brittle. As a result, boxelders are often the most easily damaged tree in a wind storm. This characteristic limits their attractiveness as a shade tree.
Boxelder has two notable characteristics that make it a desirable wood for making pens:
When stressed, the wood develops streak through the heartwood that add beauty and interest to the final product. Coupled with the grain, these streaks can produce a flame effect. Boxelder burl is fairly common and is sold through suppliers as a stabilized and colored pen blank.