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Identify the Ash

Trees in the Olive Family - Oleaceae


White Ash

White Ash

Photo by Steve Nix
An ash commonly refers to trees of the genus Fraxinus (from Latin "ash tree") in the olive family Oleaceae. The ashes are usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The leaves are opposite (rarely in whorls of three), and mostly pinnately-compound, simple in a few species. The seeds, popularly known as keys or helicopter seeds, are a type of fruit known as a samara. The genus Fraxinus contains 45-65 species world-wide.

The Common North American Ash Species

Dormant Identification:
Has shield-shaped leaf scar; has tall, pointed bud; has no stupules; has pitchfork-like limb tips; has long and narrow clustered winged seed; has continuous bundle scars inside leaf scar looks like "smiley face".

Leaves: opposite , pinnately compound , without teeth.
Bark: gray and furrowed.
Fruit: a single winged key hanging in clusters.

ash | beech | basswood | birch | black cherry | black walnut/butternut | cottonwood | elm | hackberry | hickory | holly | locust | magnolia | maple | oak | poplar | red alder | royal paulownia | sassafras | sweetgum | sycamore | tupelo | willow | yellow-poplar

ID Glossary

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