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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Green Ash

Green Ash

(Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.)

  Green ash, also called red ash, is the most widely distributed of the ashes. It is a common tree along rivers and low grounds in the Piedmont and lower North Carolina mountains.

Trees with young twigs, undersides of leaves and leaf stalks covered with soft, silky hairs are known as red ash, while the trees with smooth leaves and twigs are called green ash.

The bark is a 1/2 inch or more thick. It is brown tinged with red and is slightly furrowed or ridged.

The compound leaves, oppositely attached on the twigs, are 6 to 9 inches long and have 7 to 9 entire, or obscurely toothed, leaflets. They are green on top and lighter green on the bottom. Sometimes, in the case of the smooth form, they are a yellow-green on both sides. The leaf scars are semi-round, usually with a straight upper margin and seldom are lightly notched. The dormant leaf bud is positioned above the leaf scar.

The flowers are small, with the male and female flowers growing on different trees.

The fruit is a long and very narrow samara, flat and winged, I to 2 1/2 inches long and 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide, with the wing portion extending well past the middle of the seed-bearing part.

The wood is heavy, hard, rather strong, brittle and coarse-grained. It is light-brown, with a rather broad layer of lighter sap wood. It is valuable and used for the same purposes as white ash.
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