Botanical Name: Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Section: Fraxinus sect. Melioides
Species: F. pennsylvanica
Synonyms: Fraxinus lanceolata, Fraxinus pubescens.
Common Names: Red Ash, Green ash, Water Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Alberta, south to Florida and Texas. It grows on streambanks, floodplains and wet upland sites, rarely in pure stands.
Fraxinus pennsylvanica is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 12–25 m (39–82 ft) (rarely to 45 m or 148 ft) tall with a trunk up to 60 cm (24 in) in diameter. The bark is smooth and gray on young trees, becoming thick and fissured with age. The winter buds are reddish-brown, with a velvety texture. The leaves are 15–30 cm (6–12 in) long, pinnately compound with seven to nine (occasionally five or eleven) leaflets, these 5–15 cm (2–6 in) (rarely 18 cm or 7 in) long and 1.2–9 cm (1?2–3 9?16 in) broad, with serrated margins and short but distinct, downy petiolules a few millimeters long. They are green both above and below. The autumn color is golden-yellow and depending on the climate, Green Ash’s leaves may begin changing color the first week of September. The flowers are produced in spring at the same time as the new leaves, in compact panicles; they are inconspicuous with no petals, and are wind-pollinated. The fruit is a samara 2.5–7.5 cm (1–3 in) long comprising a single seed 1.5–3 cm (5?8–1 1?8 in) long with an elongated apical wing 2–4 cm (3?4–1 1?2 in) long and 3–7 mm (1?8–9?32 in) broad.
It is sometimes divided into two varieties, Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. pennsylvanica (red ash) and Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. lanceolata (Borkh.) Sarg. (syn. var. subintegerrima (Vahl) Fern.; green ash) on the basis of the hairless leaves with narrower leaflets of the latter, but the two intergrade completely, and the distinction is no longer upheld by most botanists.
Prefers a deep loamy soil, even if it is on the heavy side. Most members of this genus are gross feeders and require a rich soil. Plants succeed when growing in exposed positions and also in alkaline soils. They tolerate atmospheric pollution. A fast-growing tree. Plants have little tolerance of shade. Cultivated as a timber tree in C. and S.E. Europe where it is sometimes naturalized. The cultivar ‘Patmore’ is disease resistant. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Inner bark – cooked. The cambium layer can be scraped down in long, fluffy layers and cooked. It is said to taste like eggs. Inner bark can also be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread.
The bark and leaves are a bitter tonic. An infusion of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of depression and fatigue. The root is diuretic.
Landscape Uses:Aggressive surface roots possible, Pollard, Street tree.
A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting. A red dye is extracted from the bark. Logs of wood can be beaten with mauls to separate the growth layers, these layers can then be cut into strips and woven into baskets. Wood – hard, heavy, rather strong, tough, elastic, brittle, coarse-grained. It weighs 44lb per cubic foot. Used for tool handles, furniture etc. The wood is of poorer quality than F. americana, though it is usually sold under that name.
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