Fraxinus pensylvanica
(Green Ash)
[Marsh.]

Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Scrophulriales
Family: Oleaceae
Family Description: Olive

Key Characteristics:
Non-native species
leaves
flowers
fruit
  • Opposite, pinnately compound, deciduous, with 7-9 leaflets which are pointed at the tip, acute at the base, 10-15 cm long, lance-shaped, and slightly toothed near the apex, but entire on the lower half.
  • The leaves are green above and pale green and sometimes hairy beneath.
  • Leaf stalks are narrow-winged.
  • apetalous, unisexual in unisexual clusters on separate trees, thus plants are dioecious.
  • Staminate flowers have a cup-shaped calyx, 2 stamens.
  • Pistillate flowers have a deep lobed calyx and a long, narrow pistil
  • samaras in clusters.
  • The wings are broadest above the middle.
  • Overall they are 2.5-6 cm long, 6-9 mm wide with rounded, notched tips.

General Description:
Green ash is not native to Idaho, but is commonly cultivated and sometimes escapes and appears to be native. It is the most widely distributed of all the native ash species. It is native east of a diagonal line extending from Alberta Canada through central Montana to eastern Texas. It is common along stream banks, flood plains, and wet upland sites. It is a fast growing tree which produces vast crops of samaras in late summer and autumn. These fruits are an important food source for wood ducks, quail, turkey, cardinals, finches, and other rodents such as squirrels. Deer and moose browse on the young twigs.

Distribution:
It is native east of a diagonal line extending from Alberta Canada through central Montana to eastern Texas.

Habitat:
Stream banks, flood plains, and wet upland sites.

Other:
Fruits are an important food source for wood ducks, quail, turkey, cardinals, finches, and other rodents such as squirrels. Deer and moose browse on the young twigs. The wood is light-brown, hard, heavy, and moderately strong. It is used for tool handles, oars, paddles, baseball bats, snowshoes, tennis rackets and frames and has been used some for furniture such as decorative shelving. It has been widely used as an ornamental tree and has proved to be resistant to diseases which kill other cultivated ashes.

References:
    Davis, Ray J. 1952, Fora of Idaho. Wm . C. Brown Company Dubuque, Iowa
    Elias, Thomas S., 1987. The complete Trees of North America, Gramercy Publishing Company. New York
    Hitchcock, C. Leo & Arthur Cronquist , 1973, Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Univ. of Washington Press. Seattle and London
    Hitchcock, C. Leo & Arthur Cronquist , 1961, Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Univ. of Washington Press. Seattle, Washington
    Moore, Michael, 1993, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Red Crane Books 826 Camino de Monte Rey Santa Fe New Mexico 87501

Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002