Green Ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Oleaceae (olives)

A medium to large tree with a straight, tall trunk, high branches and a rounded crown.

Leaves opposite, compound, 8–12 inches long, with 7–9 lance-shaped leaflets, 3–6 inches long, finely toothed; upper surface dark green, dull, smooth; lower surface paler green, more or less hairy; leaflet stalks (at least the lower ones) narrowly winged. Leaves turn bright yellow in autumn.

Bark brown, shallowly grooved, with narrow, flat-topped, interlacing ridges that form a diamond pattern.

Twigs stout, rigid, gray, smooth.

Flowers April–May, male and female on separate trees; both male and female flowers in clusters, small, green, lacking petals.

Fruits August–September, in dense clusters to 8 inches long; fruit 1–2 inches long, a flattened, smooth, somewhat oarlike, winged seed, with the wing partially around the seed.

Height: to 90 feet; spread: 40 feet
Habitat and conservation: 
In the wild, grows along streambanks and in moist bottomlands. In cultivation, it prefers wet soils and full sun but is adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Sadly, this is one of the trees most vulnerable to the emerald ash borer, a tremendously destructive invasive exotic beetle that has already killed perhaps 100 million ash trees in the United States and nearby sections of Canada. This insect will probably eventually kill nearly all the ash trees on the continent.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common, although in the future green ash (and all ash trees) may become uncommon or extirpated. The emerald ash borer kills virtually all the ash trees wherever it goes. It has already gained a toehold in one Missouri county (Wayne), is solidly present in Ohio, Michigan, northern Indiana and eastern Illinois, and is expanding its range—heading our way. So far, no one has found a way to stop its spread.
Human connections: 
Widely planted as a shade tree in cities and at homes, and for erosion control, windbreaks and land reclamation. Ash wood is hard, strong and able to absorb blows without breaking, and it is used for many products, including boat oars, tennis racquets and guitars.
Ecosystem connections: 
The seeds, which female green ash trees produce in abundance, are eaten by songbirds, quail, turkey, wood ducks and small mammals. The boughs provide perches and nest sites for birds and squirrels. The shade they collectively produce creates a forest habitat, which many species require.
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