Genus Fraxinus, L. (Ash)

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Leaves - compound (odd-feathered; leaflets, seven to eleven, usually nine); opposite; edge of leaflet toothed. Outline - of leaflet, narrow, long oval or long egg-shaped Apex - taper-pointed. Base - rounded. Leaf/Stem - lacking. Leaf/Bud - deep blue or blackish. Leaflet - three to five inches long, smooth and green on both sides, excepting where it is slightly hairy along the lower part of the middle rib. When crushed it has an Elder-like odor. Bark - of trunk, dark granite-gray, somewhat furrowed and broken up and down with roughness, which continue in the old tree. The young branches are smooth and grayish and marked with black and white dots and warts. Winged seeds - nearly one and one half inches long, with the wing three eighths of an inch wide and extending around the seed. Ripe in July. Found - along low river-banks and in swamps, which it sometimes fills; in Delaware, the mountains of Virginia, Northwestern Arkansas, through the Northern States to Canada. It is the most Northern of the American Ashes. General Information - Usually a small or medium-sized tree. The wood is largely used for barrel-hoops, baskets, in cabinet-work, and interior finish. Fraxinus from a Greek word meaning “separation,” because of the ease with which the wood of the Ash can be split. I find in the notes of an old copy of White’s “Natural History of Selborne” this comment: “The Ash, I think, has been termed by Gilpin the Venus of British trees.” Gerardes’ “Herbal” comments: “The leaves of the Ash are of so great a vertue against serpents, as that the serpents dare not be so bolde as to touch the morning and evening shadowes of the tree, but shunneth them afarre off, as Pliny reporteth in his 16 book, 13 chap. He also affirmeth that the serpent being penned in with boughes laide rounde about, will sooner run into the fire, if any be there, than come neere to the boughes of the Ash.” In Scandinavian mythology the great and sacred tree, Yggdrasil, the greatest and most sacred of all trees, which binds together heaven and earth and hell, is an Ash. Its roots spread over the whole earth. Its branches reach above the heavens. Underneath lies a serpent; above is an eagle; a squirrel runs up and down the trunk, trying to breed strife between them.


Trees: B


Newhall, Charles S. The Trees of North-Eastern America (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1900) 229


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