Fraxinus excelsior

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 Fraxinus excelsior subsp. var.  Common ash, European ash
Fraxinus excelsior.jpg
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
100ft 60ft
Height: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 100 ft
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 60 ft
Lifespan: perennial
Bloom: early fall, mid fall, late fall
Exposure: sun
Features: flowers
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 4 to 10
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Oleaceae > Fraxinus excelsior var. ,

Fraxinus excelsior (Ash; also European Ash or Common Ash on occasion to distinguish it from other ash species), is a species of Fraxinus native to most of Europe.[1][2]

Male flowers

It is a large deciduous tree growing to 20–35 m (exceptionally to 46 m) tall with a trunk up to 2 m (exceptionally to 3.5 m) diameter, with a tall, domed crown. The bark is smooth and pale grey on young trees, becoming thick and vertically fissured on old trees. The shoots are stout, greenish-grey, with jet black buds. The leaves are 20–35 cm long, pinnate compound, with 7-13 leaflets, the leaflets 3–12 cm long and 0.8–3 cm broad, sessile on the leaf rachis, and with a serrated margin. The leaves are often among the last to open in spring, and the first to fall in autumn if an early frost strikes; they have no marked autumn colour, often falling dull green. The flowers open before the leaves, the female flowers being somewhat longer than the male flowers; they are dark purple, and without petals, and are wind-pollinated. Both male and female flowers can occur on the same tree, but it is more common to find all male and all female trees; a tree that is all male one year can produce female flowers the next, and similarly a female tree can become male. The fruit is a samara 2.5-4.5 cm long and 5–8 mm broad, often hanging in bunches through the winter; they are often called 'ash keys'.[1][3][4] Trees rarely exceed 250 years old. However, there are numerous ones estimated between 200 and 250 years old and there are a couple over 250. The largest is in Clapton Court, England and is 9 m (29 ft) in girth. There are several examples over 4.5 metres (15 feet) in Derbyshire alone.

It is readily distinguished from other species of ash in that it has black buds, unlike the brown or grey buds of most other ashes.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Fraxinus excelsior, Linn. Fig. 1577. Tall tree, to 120 ft.: lfts. 9-13, almost sessile, oblong-ovate or ovate-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, serrate, dark green above, paler beneath, 2-5 in. long: fr. oblong, often emarginate, about 1 ½ in. long. Eu., W. Asia. H.W. 3:59, pp. 115, 116. Gn. 22, p. 273. F.E. 24:395. Many different varieties are cult., some of the most distinct being the following: Var. albo-marginata, Hort. Lfts. edged white. Var. argentea, Loud. (var. albo-variegata, Hort.). Lfts. blotched white. Var. lutea, Loud. Lvs.. variegated with yellow. Var. jaspidea, Desf. Bark of the young branches striped pinkish white. Var. aurea, Pers. With yellow branches. Var. Aurea-pendula, Loud. With pendulous yellow branches, but a somewhat weak grower. Var. erosa, Willd. (Var. asplenifolia, Kirchn. Var. laciniata, Hort. Var. elegantissima, Hort. Var. scolopendrifolia,Hort.). Lfts. very narrow, incisely serrate and often almost linear. Var. crispa, Willd. (Var. atrovirens, Var. cucullata, Hort.), with very dark green curled and twisted lvs.; of slow growth. Var. diversifolia, Ait. (F. heterophylla, Vahl. F. sim-plicifolia laciniata, Hort. F. riifa, Hort., not Bosc). Lvs. simple or 3-parted, usually incisely dentate. Gn. 22, p. 273. Var. monophylla, Kuntze (F_. monophylla, Desf. F. simplicifolia, Willd.). Lvs. simple, ovate, serrate, rarely with 1 or 2 small lfts. at the base. Var. nana, Loud. (Var. polemoniifblia, Var. globbsa, Hort.). A compact, slow-growing, dwarf form with very small lvs. M.D.G. 1904:380. Var. pendula, Ait. With pendulous branches. One of the best pendulous trees for forming arbors and shady seats. Gn. 39, p, 451; 68, p. 400. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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Ash saplings from a mast year.

There are a number of cultivars including;

  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Aurea', see 'Jaspidea'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Aurea Pendula' (Weeping Golden Ash)
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Autumn Blaze'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Autumn Purple'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Crispa'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Diversifolia' (One-leaved Ash)
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Erosa'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Jaspidea' (Golden Ash)
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Monophylla'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Nana'
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Pendula' (Weeping Ash), one of the best known cultivars, widely planted during the Victorian era, it grows vigorously forming an attractive small to medium size tree with mounds of weeping branches.
  • Fraxinus excelsior 'Skyline'.


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