Ash trees

Ash trees (Fraxinus) are a plant genus in the olive tree family (Oleaceae). Three species are native to Europe: the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior), the manna ash (Fraxinus ornus) and the narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia).

The Fraxinus species are mainly found in the temperate to subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere. It contains 45–65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous, though a number of subtropical species are evergreen.

The genus is widespread across much of Europe, Asia, and North America.


Fraxinus excelsior can reach 40 meters in height as an adult and live 250 years.


Fraxinus excelsior, known as the ash, or European ash or common ash


The leaves are opposite (rarely in whorls of three), and mostly pinnately compound, though simple in a few species. The seeds, popularly known as "keys" or "helicopter seeds", are a type of fruit known as a samara.

Birds are interested in black, green and white ash trees. Black Ash alone is home to wood ducks, wild turkeys, cardinals, pine grosbeaks, cedar waxwings, and yellow-bellied sap-suckers, among others for their habitat and food (the sap being interesting for the sap-sucker, for example).

Many species of mammals, from the seed-eating Meadow Vole to the foliage-eating White-tailed Deer to nesting silver-haired bats, will also use ash trees.

Fraxinus ornus, the manna ash or South European flowering ash


The ash trees are heavy, ring-pored wood. It is characterized by high strength and elasticity. Exposed to the elements, it has little durability. The ash wood is used solidly or as a veneer in interior design and for furniture production.


Special applications are tool handles and sports equipment (sleds, baseball bats or snooker cues).

In the past, ash wood was also used to make bows, parts for wheelwrights and masts, booms and tillers for boat building.


Ash is also used as a tonewood in musical instrument construction, for example for solid body guitars and drum shells.

Some electric guitars and electric basses use black ash wood for the body.


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