Fraxinus americana L.

  • Family: Oleaceae (olive, ash, privet, etc.)
  • Common name: white ash
  • Synonyms: F. biltmoreana, several named varieties of F. americana

    Tree to 18 m (60 ft) tall and 50 cm (18 in) diameter, with conical or rounded dense crown. Bark thick, dark gray, with narrow forking ridges. Twigs thick, gray-brown, with raised crescent-shaped leaf scars. Buds rounded, finely hairy, dark brown, in notch on upper side of leaf base. Leaves opposite, pinnately compound, 20-30 cm (8-12 in) long. Leaflets usually 7 (5-9), short-stalked, ovate to elliptical, acuminate, 6-13 cm (2.4-5 in) long and 3-6 cm (1.2-2.4 in) wide, glabrous dark green above, glaucous-whitish below. Flowers numerous, very small, purplish, in small branched clusters on twigs before leaves in early spring. Fruits samaras 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) long hanging in clusters, with narrow wing not extending down the cylindrical body.

    Distribution: Native to most of the eastern half of the U. S. and southeastern Canada.
    Habitat: Well-drained floodplains and mesic upland forests.
    NWI status: FACU
    Comment: White ash is an important hardwood timber tree. The wood is hard and strong and is used in flooring, tool handles, baseball bats, etc. Fraxinus is the old Latin name for a species of European ash; americana refers to North America.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/10/99
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