Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall

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Common names:
green ash, red ash, green ash
Synonyms:
Fraxinus campestris Britton; Fraxinus darlingtonii Britton; Fraxinus lanceolata Borkh.; Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall var. austinii Fernald; Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall var. integerrima (Vahl) Fernald; Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall var. lanceolata (Borkh.) Sarg.; Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall var. subintegerrima (Vahl) Fernald; Fraxinus smallii Britton
Description:
Growth form:
Medium-sized tree,
Size:
12 - 18 m tall, trunk diameter 30 cm - 0.6 m.
Form
rounded to irregular and densely branched. Trunk straight, stout, and sometimes slightly expanded at the base.
Bark
brown or dark gray, thick, and furrowed into scaly, interlacing ridges.
Twigs
stout and ashy gray to reddish brown. Current shoots may be densely hairy at first (persisting one to three years). Leaf scars crescent-shaped with a concave top, containing several bundle scars that form a U. Surface layer of older, hairless twigs not peeling or flaking.
Buds
dark brown, small, rounded, and finely hairy. Terminal bud 3 - 8 mm long. Uppermost pair of lateral buds adjacent to terminal bud at nearly the same level.
Leaves
opposite, pinnately compound, 25 - 30 cm long, with seven to nine leaflets. Leaflets short-stalked, yellowish green, 7 - 15 cm long, 2.5 - 4.5 cm wide, oblong lance-shaped to egg-shaped with a tapering base and long-pointed tip, slightly toothed, thin, firm, and hairy on both surfaces. Leaves turn yellowish brown in autumn.
Flowers
either male or female and found on separate trees (dioecious). The tiny purplish or greenish flowers are borne in a downy, branched inflorescence. Calyx cup-shaped.
Fruit
dry, single-seeded, winged (samara), 2.5 - 5 cm long, and narrow-cylindrical. Wing encloses half or more of the seed cavity.
Help:
Plant Glossary
Similar species:
The other ash species of the Chicago Region look more or less similar to Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Fraxinus americana differs by having pale or whitish undersides, twigs with raised leaf scars, and a twig surface (except current year's growth) that is flaky, scaly, or peeling. Also, the wing of its fruit does not extend to the base of the large seed cavity. Fraxinus nigra has stalkless leaflets, and the wing of its fruit nearly extends to the base of the flat seed cavity. Fraxinus profunda has longer, wider, and more leathery leaflets. It also has densely hairy shoots (current), and the wing of its fruit often extends to the base of the seed cavity. Fraxinus quadrangulata has square twigs, and the wing of its fruit extends to and around the base of the seed cavity.
Flowering:
April to mid-May, after the leaves have begun to open
Habitat and ecology:
Frequent in woods, usually not far from water.
Regional occurrence:
native
Notes:
Fraxinus pennsylvanica is the most widely distributed native ash in North America. It has both hairless (called green ash) and hairy (red ash) forms, observable on twigs, leaf parts, and flower and fruit branchings. The hairless form, green ash, is often planted as an ornamental. The wood of F. pennsylvanica is used for tool handles, interior finishing, furniture, oars, paddles, tennis rackets, and baseball bats. The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a serious insect threat to all native ashes (see link below).
Etymology:
Fraxinus is the Latin word for ash. Pennsylvanica means "of or from Pennsylvania."
vPlants
name code: FRPE ; page author: The Morton Arboretum ; page date: 2006-12-03
Further information (external links):
Google: Text Search Image Search
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References:
Barnes, B. V., and W. H. Wagner, Jr. 2004. Michigan trees: A guide to the trees of the Great Lakes region. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Elias, T. S. 1980. The complete trees of North America. New York: Times Mirror Magazines, Inc.
Mohlenbrock, R. H. 1996. Forest trees of Illinois. 8th ed. Illinois: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forest Resources.

Information provided on this page applies to the Chicago Region and may not be relevant or complete for other regions.

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