White Ash (Fraxinus Americana)

White Ash (Fraxinus Americana)

Habitat.—Rich or moist woods, fields and pastures, near streams. USDA Zone 3-9

  • Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to Ontario.
  • Maine,—very common, often forming large forest areas; in the other New England states, widely distributed, but seldom occurring in large masses.
  • South to Florida; west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas.

Habit.—A tall forest tree, 50-75 feet high and nearly equal width, with a trunk diameter of 2-3 feet. Often gently curving branches, forming a rather open, rounded head widest at or near the base, with light and graceful foliage, and a stout, rather sparse.

Bark.—Bark of trunk in mature trees easily distinguishable at some distance by the characteristic gray color and uniform striation; ridges prominent, narrow and firm – smaller branches smooth and grayish-green; season’s shoots polished olive green; leaf-scars prominent.

Winter Buds and Leaves.—Buds short, rather prominent, smooth, dark or pale rusty brown. Leaves pinnately compound, opposite, 6-12 inches long; petiole smooth and grooved; leaflets 5-9, 2-5 inches long, deep green and smooth above, paler and smooth, or slightly pubescent (at least when young) beneath; ovate to lance-oblong, entire or somewhat toothed; apex pointed; base obtuse, rounded or sometimes acute; leaflet stalks short, smooth. Yellow – dark purple fall color.

Flowers.—Early Spring. In loose panicles from lateral or terminal buds of the previous season’s shoots, sterile and fertile flowers for the most part on separate trees, numerous, inconspicuous; calyx in sterile flowers 4-toothed, petals none, stamens 2-4, anthers oblong; calyx in fertile flowers unequally 4-toothed or nearly entire, persistent; petals none, stamens none, pistil 1, style 1, stigma 2-cleft.

Fruit.—Ripening in early fall, and hanging in clusters into the winter; a samara or key 1-2 inches long, body nearly terete, marginless below, dilating from near the tip into a wing two or three times as long as the body.

Horticultural Value.—Prefers a rich, moist, loamy soil, but grows in any well-drained situation; easily transplanted, usually obtainable in nurseries, and can be collected successfully. Best used in parks or open areas, susceptible to many diseases and pests. Not reccomended for use in residential lots due to its size and potential problems with pests.

White Ash (Fraxinus Americana)

1. Winter buds.
2. Branch with sterile flowers.
3. Sterile flowers.
4. Branch with fertile flowers.
5. Fertile flower.
6. Fruiting branch.