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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fraxinus ornus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Tribe: Oleeae
Genus: Fraxinus

See text

European Ash in flower
Narrow-leafed Ash (Fraxinus angustifolia) shoot with leaves
Closeup of European Ash seeds
19th century illustration of Manna Ash (Fraxinus ornus)

Fraxinus (pronounced /ˈfræksɨnəs/)[2] is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, Ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name originated in Latin. Both words also meant "spear" in their respective languages.[3] The leaves are opposite (rarely in whorls of three), and mostly pinnately-compound, simple in a few species. The seeds, popularly known as keys or helicopter seeds, are a type of fruit known as a samara.


Selected species

Eastern North America
Western and southwestern North America
  • Fraxinus anomala Torr. ex S.Watson – Singleleaf Ash
  • Fraxinus berlandieriana DC. – Mexican Ash
  • Fraxinus cuspidata Torr. – Fragrant Ash
  • Fraxinus dipetala Hook. & Arn. – California Ash or Two-petal Ash
  • Fraxinus dubia
  • Fraxinus gooddingii – Goodding's Ash
  • Fraxinus greggii A.Gray – Gregg's Ash
  • Fraxinus latifolia Benth. – Oregon Ash
  • Fraxinus lowellii – Lowell Ash
  • Fraxinus papillosa Lingelsh. – Chihuahua Ash
  • Fraxinus purpusii
  • Fraxinus rufescens
  • Fraxinus texensis (A.Gray) Sarg. – Texas Ash
  • Fraxinus uhdei (Wenz.) Lingelsh. – Shamel Ash or Tropical Ash
  • Fraxinus velutina Torr. – Velvet Ash
Western Palearctic (Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia)
Eastern Palearctic (central and east Asia)
  • Fraxinus apertisquamifera
  • Fraxinus baroniana
  • Fraxinus bungeana DC. – Bunge's Ash
  • Fraxinus chinensis Roxb. – Chinese Ash or Korean Ash
  • Fraxinus chiisanensis
  • Fraxinus floribunda Wall. – Himalayan Manna Ash
  • Fraxinus griffithiiC.B.Clarke – Griffith's Ash
  • Fraxinus hubeiensis
  • Fraxinus japonica – Japanese Ash
  • Fraxinus lanuginosa
  • Fraxinus longicuspis
  • Fraxinus malacophylla
  • Fraxinus mandschurica Rupr. – Manchurian Ash
  • Fraxinus mariesii – Maries' Ash
  • Fraxinus micrantha Lingelsh.
  • Fraxinus paxiana Lingelsh.
  • Fraxinus platypoda
  • Fraxinus raibocarpa Regel
  • Fraxinus sieboldiana Blume – Japanese Flowering Ash
  • Fraxinus spaethiana Lingelsh. – Späth's Ash
  • Fraxinus trifoliata
  • Fraxinus xanthoxyloides (G.Don) Wall. ex DC. – Afghan Ash[4][5]


Canker on an Ash tree in North Ayrshire, Scotland

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), a wood-boring beetle accidentally introduced to North America from eastern Asia with ash wood products circa 1998, has killed millions of trees in the Midwestern United States and adjacent Ontario, and some isolated smaller areas on eastern North America. It threatens some 7 billion ash trees in North America. The public is being cautioned not to transport unfinished wood products, such as firewood, to slow the spread of this insect pest.

Ash is also used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths) -- see list of Lepidoptera that feed on ashes.


The wood is hard (a hardwood), dense (within 20% of 670 kg/m3 for Fraxinus americana,[6] and higher at 710 kg/m3 for Fraxinus excelsior[7]), tough and very strong but elastic, extensively used for making bows, tool handles, quality wooden baseball bats, hurleys and other uses demanding high strength and resilience.

It is also often used as material for electric guitar bodies and, less commonly, for acoustic guitar bodies, known for its bright, cutting tone and sustaining quality. They are also used for making drum shells. Interior joinery is another common user of both European Ash and White Ash. Ash veneers are extensively used in office furniture. Ash is not used extensively outdoors due to the heartwood having a low durability to ground contact,[7] meaning it will typically perish within five years.

Woodworkers generally like the timber for its great finishing qualities. It also has good machining qualities, and is quite easy to use with nails, screws and glue.[6] Ash was commonly used for the structural members of the bodies of cars made by carriage builders. Also, early cars had the design feature that their frames were intended to flex as part of the suspension system (to save money on suspension parts), as opposed to a rigid box steel frame, such as NASCAR racing stock cars of the 1960s had; many cars had frames made of ash; some British Morris sports cars still do.

It also makes excellent firewood. The two most economically important species for wood production are White Ash in eastern North America, and European Ash in Europe. The Green Ash (F. pennsylvanica) is widely planted as a street tree in the United States. The inner bark of the Blue Ash (F. quadrangulata) has been used as a source for a blue dye.

The cortex (bark) of Fraxinus rhynchophylla (simplified Chinese: 苦枥白蜡树traditional Chinese: 苦櫪白蠟樹pinyin: kǔlì báilàshù), Fraxinus chinensis (simplified Chinese: 白蜡树traditional Chinese: 白蠟樹pinyin: Báilàshù), Fraxinus szaboana (simplified Chinese: 尖叶白蜡树traditional Chinese: 尖葉白蠟樹pinyin: jiānyè báilàshù) and Fraxinus stylosa (simplified Chinese: 宿柱白蜡树traditional Chinese: 宿柱白蠟樹pinyin: sùzhù báilàshù) are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for diarrhea, dysentery, and vaginal discharge. It is also good for the eyes where there is symptoms of redness, swelling, and pain. The dosage is 6-12 grams.

Cultural aspects

Unusual 'Treelets' growing from a fallen Ash tree in Lawthorn wood, Ayrshire, Scotland

In Norse mythology, the World Tree Yggdrasil is commonly held to be an ash tree, and the first man, Ask, was formed from an ash tree. Elsewhere in Europe, snakes were said to be repelled by ash leaves or a circle drawn by an ash branch. Irish folklore claims that shadows from an ash tree would damage crops. In Cheshire, it was said that ash could be used to cure warts or rickets. See also the letter ash. In Sussex the ash and elm tree were known as the Widow Maker because the large boughs would often drop without warning.

In Greek mythology, the Meliae were nymphs of the ash, perhaps specifically of the Manna Ash (Fraxinus ornus), as dryads were nymphs of the oak. Many echoes of archaic Hellene rites and myth involve ash trees.

The ash exudes a sugary substance that, it has been suggested, was fermented to create the Norse Mead of Inspiration.[8]


  1. ^ "Fraxinus L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-04-03. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams, ed (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 32. ISBN 9781884964985. 
  4. ^ "Species Records of Fraxinus". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  5. ^ "Fraxinus L.". ITIS Standard Reports. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  6. ^ a b "White Ash". Niche Timbers. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  7. ^ a b "Ash". Niche Timbers. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  8. ^ Dumont, Darl J. (Summer 1992). "The Ash Tree In Indo-European Culture". Mankind Quarterly 32 (4): 323-336. 

See also

External links


Simple English

Ash tree
European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Fraxinus
Tourn. ex L.

]] Ash trees are trees. They are of the family Oleaceae (Olive-tree like). They care medium-height to large trees. Some of them are evergreen, but most are deciduous. The seeds, are commonly known as keys in English. They are a type of fruit known as samara. Ash wood is used to make various tools, handles, bows. It also makes very good firewood. Ash trees are also perfect material for old fashion shafts for bow and arrows.

In Norse Mythology, the World tree Yggdrasil is commonly thought to be an ash tree. The first man, Askr, was formed from an ash. The first woman was made from an alder.

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