White Ash

Fraxinus americana
Oleaceae (olives)

A medium to large tree with a straight, tall trunk and narrow, rounded or pyramidal crown.

Leaves opposite, feather-compound, 8–12 inches long, with 5–9 (usually 7) leaflets; leaflets broadest near the base or middle, 3–5 inches long, 1½–3 inches wide, margin often with rounded teeth, tip pointed, upper surface dark green, dull to somewhat shiny; lower surface paler, whitish, smooth; leaf stalk smooth.

Bark light gray to dark brown, grooves deep, with narrow, interlacing ridges that are flat-topped, forming a diamond pattern.

Twigs stout, rigid, brittle, green to brown, or gray, smooth; pores pale; bud at tip about ¼ inch long.

Flowers April–May, with male and female flowers in clusters on different trees. Male flowers small, green to red, with no petals; female flowers similar to male flowers.

Fruit matures in August–September, in dense clusters up to 8 inches long; fruit is a samara, with the wing partially around the seed; yellowish-brown, 1–2 inches long, smooth, flat.

Height: to 90 feet; spread: 60 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in bottomland forests along streams, slopes, bases of bluffs, in upland and rocky woods and in glades. Widely planted as an ornamental. Male trees flower every year, but female trees flower and produce large amounts of seed every few years. The seeds sprout prolifically in disturbed sites and unkempt yards. Often, white ash leaves turn color in autumn before the peak arrives in Missouri. The word “white” in the common name might refer to the pale undersurfaces of the leaves.
Distribution in Missouri: 
One of the best trees in eastern North America: Popular in landscaping, glorious in the autumn, with excellent timber value (Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made from white ash). You might think twice before planting an ash tree, however, because sadly, the exotic emerald ash borer is making its way to our state, and its presence means that ash trees will die.
Human connections: 
Widely planted in landscapes, a favorite tree for fall color (the leaves turn yellow or purple). An important timber tree: The wood is used for baseball bats, tool handles, musical instruments, cabinets, doors, frames, fuel, ships and boats. Native Americans used tea made from the tree medicinally.
Ecosystem connections: 
The fruit is eaten by a variety of songbirds, bobwhite, wild turkey, wood ducks and small mammals. Deer sometimes browse this species heavily.
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