||Carolina ash, or Carolina water ash, is a rather small tree that
grows only in the deeper swamps along river bottoms in the Coastal
Plain, although it has been found in this state as far west as
Wake and Anson counties.
The leaves are from 7 to 12 inches long, with five to nine leaflets
(usually seven). They are oval or oblong, coarsely toothed along
the margin (sometimes only remotely toothed), green on top, thick
and firm. They are relatively short and broad -- 2 to 5 inches
long and 2 to 3 inches wide. Carolina ash flowers generally are
similar to those of the other ash species. There are two kinds
of flowers and they grow on separate trees. They are very small
and appear in compound clusters with or before the leaves appear.
The male flowers are in a dense mass; the female in a more open
cluster, or panicle.
The fruit is completely winged (sometimes three-winged) around
a narrow, pointed, short, compressed or flattened body that contains
the seed. The wing often is 2 inches long by about 3/4 inch wide
and often is bright violet.
Carolina ash seldom grows more than 25 feet tall and 6 to 8 inches
in diameter. The wood of the Carolina ash is light, soft, weak
and close-grained. It is yellow -white, with a wide band of lighter
colored sapwood. It is not used for any specific purpose.