416 E. Erwin Dr.

White Ash (Fraxinus americana)

Fraxinus americana, the white ash or American ash is a handsome tree native to eastern and central North America. Frequently used for parks and other large areas, the white ash is a good example of two botanic characteristics. First, it is one of a small number of trees with leaves in an opposite arrangement instead of the normal alternate arrangement. And second, the leaves are pinnately compound, that is, leaves that consist of multiple leaflets – in this case, normally 7 leaflets.

They provide spectacular fall color: purple, bronze, gold, yellow, often on the same leaf. The “white” in its name comes from the undersides of the leaves which are lighter in color than their upper sides. And lore has it that the “ash” comes from the ashy-gray color of the bark. The bark is notable because its fissures make a diamond pattern. It is a valuable timber tree. Its wood is in high demand because it is white and quite dense and thus has become the traditional choice for baseball bats, tennis rackets, tool handles, oars and outdoor furniture.

Unfortunately, the white ash is being threatened by the emerald ash borer, an invasive green beetle native to Asia, first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and is spreading across the country. The emerald ash borer typically kills ash trees within 3-5 years after infestation.

2 thoughts on “WHITE ASH

  • Catherine Talbot November 23, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Love this new neighborhood website! Thank you. Come to my yard anytime!

    • jayperdue November 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks so much, Catherine!

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