It is native from the east coast of the USA to California, and from Alberta to the south of Mexico and Guatemala. The name of the genus comes from the Latin, aceris, which is the classic name of some maples. The specific epithet negundo comes from the Sanskrit nirgundi or nurgundi, a name given to a shrub or sapling with leaves that are very similar to those of this maple.
Unlike other maples, which have palmate leaves, this has pinnate leaves with five leaflets. No other maple has more than three leaflets. The leaves have a rounded and somewhat asymmetrical base. The flowers are small and the fruits are paired samaras which are scattered in autumn. Unlike other maples, this is a dioecious tree.
It has fairly fast growth and a somewhat short life, around 50 or 60 years. It is used as an ornamental tree; its poor wood makes it of no interest.