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Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

  • Name also: Common Ash, European Ash
  • Family: Olive Family – Oleaceae
  • Growing form and height: Tree. 15–20 m (50–65 ft.).
  • Flower: Small, without perianth. Uni- or bisexual. Stamens 2, anthers purplish-black. Pistil formed from two fused carpels. Inflorescence a many-flowered compound raceme.
  • Leaves: Opposite. Stalked, 15–30 cm (6–12 in.) long, odd-pinnate. Leaflets 9–15, 3–10 cm (1.2–4 in.) long, narrowly ovate to elliptic, long-tapered, toothed.
  • Buds: Cone-shaped, rather big, black, downy. At the end of branches, usually in the bunch of three.
  • Fruit: Narrow-winged achene (a samara), tip rounded.
  • Habitat: Broadleaf woods, rich mixed swamps. Also an ornamental and a forestry tree. Often on calcareous soils (a calciphile).
  • Flowering time: May. Flowers before coming into leaf.

Ashes (Fraxinus) are trees of the Northern hemisphere. The number of known species is 65.

Common ash is a demanding species regarding both soil and climate preferences. When the conditions are suitable it grows to a large tree, and lives long. Ash flowers in the spring before coming into leaf . Leaves emerge often as late as in June. Shoots and leaves suffer from late spring frosts. In the autumn leaves fall when still green, often already in September. When decaying, leaves form good mull.

Wood of ash is almost as hard as that of oak, and even tougher. It is used for many purposes, e.g. for making wainscot and furniture.

Other species from the same family

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