Trees And Shrubs

White Ash Fraxinus americana


The white ash is a native of the eastern half of North America as far as latitude 53°. It occurs in mixed, broad-leaved forests, on alluvial deposits alongside rivers and streams, and in moist forest associations. In Europe, it tolerates floods of longer duration and more water-logged soils than the common ash. It also grows on less fertile soils, and is not damaged by late spring frosts because its leaves unfold later.

The white ash reaches a height of 30 to 40 metres and the bark is more coarsely furrowed than that of the common ash. It also differs from the latter in having brown buds. The odd-pinnate leaves are composed of broader, ovate leaflets and the seeds are narrowly lanceolate, about one-half narrower than the tongue-shaped wings. The seed, unlike that of the common ash, germinates in the spring of the following year. As it grows no faster than the common ash and its wood is of poorer quality it is not cultivated in European forests, though it has some value as an ornamental specimen tree in parks and avenues, especially on the poorer soils.

Leaves: odd-pinnate, composed of 2—4 pairs of ovate leaflets measuring 6—15 cm in length with coarsely serrate margins. Flowers: Often diocciously borne.

Fruit: Narrow, lanceolate samara with an almost cylindrical seed and a tongue-shaped wing.

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