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Botanical Name: Fraxinus americana

Common Name: White Ash
Origin: E. & C. North America
Location: CNE, CSW,KN, KS

Notable Feature: Ash trees are facing a potentially devastating threat from the Emerald Ash Borer.  This Asian borer was first identified in 2002 in southeast Michigan and it has become the most destructive forest insect to invade the U.S. killing tens of millions of ash trees.  The damage of this insect rivals that of Chestnut Blight and Dutch Elm Disease.

Habit: A large-canopied, deciduous tree with dense branching, up to 80 feet tall; typically develops a straight trunk with a narrow, oblong crown.  Bark is an ashy grayish brown with interlacing corky ridges that form obvious diamond shapes; older trees may be scaly.

Flower: Species is dioecious (male and female flowers occur on separate trees).  Both sexes are purplish green and lack petals, females occur in loose panicles, males in tighter clusters.  Flowers appear after the leaves unfold.

Fruit: Samaras (winged fruits) hang in clusters, each consisting of an elongate, attached seed within the base of an elongate wing.  When mature the seeds detach, helicopter down and disperse over the winter.

Foliage: Pinnately compound, 5 to 9 dark green leaflets with light green undersides; leaves occur in pairs on opposite sides of the twigs. Turn yellow and then to purple in fall. The leaf scars on twigs are V- or U-shaped, an important characteristic that distinguishes this species from other species of ash.  

Interesting Fact: This tall, upright tree is commonly planted as a street tree; its compound leaves and small fruits produce relatively little litter. The wood of white ash is strong, stiff, and shock resistant, making it the ideal wood for baseball bats, hockey sticks, and tool handles.

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