Fraxinus, common name Ash, is a genus of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. Genus Fraxinus are the true ashes, and are in Oleaceae, the olive family, along with olives and lilacs. The leaves are opposite, and mostly pinnately-compound, simple in a few species. The seeds, popularly known as keys or helicopter seeds, are a type of fruit known as a samara. The genus Fraxinus contains 45-65 species. The tree's common English name goes back to the Old English �sc, a word also routinely used in Old English documents to refer to spears made of ash wood.

Selected species

* Fraxinus americana White Ash

* Fraxinus caroliniana Water Ash

* Fraxinus nigra Black Ash

* Fraxinus pennsylvanica Green Ash

* Fraxinus profunda Pumpkin Ash

* Fraxinus quadrangulata Blue Ash

* Fraxinus tremillium Indigo Ash

* Fraxinus anomala Single-leaf Ash

* Fraxinus berlandieriana Rio Grande Ash

* Fraxinus cuspidata Fragrant Ash

* Fraxinus dipetala California Ash or Two-petal Ash

* Fraxinus dubia

* Fraxinus gooddingii Goodding's Ash

* Fraxinus greggii Gregg's Ash

* Fraxinus latifolia Oregon Ash

* Fraxinus lowellii Lowell Ash

* Fraxinus papillosa Chihuahua Ash

* Fraxinus purpusii

* Fraxinus rufescens

* Fraxinus texensis Mountain Ash or Texas Ash

* Fraxinus uhdei Shamel Ash or Tropical Ash

* Fraxinus velutina Velvet Ash

* Fraxinus angustifolia Narrow-leafed Ash

** Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa Caucasian Ash

* Fraxinus dimorpha

* Fraxinus excelsior European Ash

* Fraxinus holotricha

* Fraxinus ornus Manna Ash or Flowering Ash

* Fraxinus syriaca

* Fraxinus pallisiae Pallis' Ash

* Fraxinus apertisquamifera

* Fraxinus baroniana

* Fraxinus bungeana Bunge's Ash

* Fraxinus chinensis Chinese Ash or Korean Ash

* Fraxinus chiisanensis

* Fraxinus floribunda Himalayan Manna Ash

* Fraxinus griffithii Griffith's Ash

* Fraxinus hubeiensis

* Fraxinus japonica Japanese Ash

* Fraxinus lanuginosa

* Fraxinus longicuspis

* Fraxinus malacophylla

* Fraxinus mandschurica Manchurian Ash

* Fraxinus mariesii Chinese Flowering Ash

* Fraxinus micrantha

* Fraxinus paxiana

* Fraxinus platypoda

* Fraxinus raibocarpa

* Fraxinus sieboldiana Japanese Flowering Ash

* Fraxinus spaethiana Sp�th's Ash

* Fraxinus trifoliata

* Fraxinus xanthoxyloides Afghan Ash


The emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis, a wood-boring beetle accidentally introduced to North America from eastern Asia with ash wood products circa 1998, has killed millions of trees in the Midwestern US and adjacent Ontario, and some isolated smaller areas on eastern North America. It threatens some 7 billion ash trees in North America. The public is being cautioned not to transport unfinished wood products, such as firewood, to slow the spread of this insect pest.

Ash is also used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species -- see list of Lepidoptera that feed on ashes.


The wood is hard, dense, tough and very strong but elastic, extensively used for making bows, tool handles, quality wooden baseball bats, hurleys and other uses demanding high strength and resilience.

It is also often used as material for electric guitar bodies and, less commonly, for acoustic guitar bodies, known for its bright, cutting tone and sustaining quality. They are also used for making drum shells. Interior joinery is another common user of both European Ash and White Ash. Ash veneers are extensively used in office furniture. Ash is not used extensively outdoors due to the heartwood having a low durability to ground contact, meaning it will typically perish within five years.

Woodworkers generally like the timber for its great finishing qualities. It also has good machining qualities, and is quite easy to use with nails, screws and glue.

It also makes excellent firewood. The two most economically important species for wood production are White Ash in eastern North America, and European Ash in Europe. The Green Ash is widely planted as a street tree in the United States. The inner bark of the Blue Ash has been used as a source for a blue dye.

The cortex of Fraxinus rhynchophylla HANCE, Fraxinus chinensis ROXB., Fraxinus szaboana English and Fraxinus stylosa English are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for diarrhea, dysenteric disorder, and vaginal discharge. It is also good for the eyes where there is symptoms of redness, swelling, and pain. The dosage is 6-12 grams.

Cultural aspects

In Norse mythology, the World Tree Yggdrasil is commonly held to be an ash tree, and the first man, Ask, was formed from an ash tree. Elsewhere in Europe, snakes were said to be repelled by ash leaves or a circle drawn by an ash branch. Irish folklore claims that shadows from an ash tree would damage crops. In Cheshire, it is said that ash could be used to cure warts or rickets. See also the letter ash. In Sussex the ash and elm tree were known as the Widow Maker because the large boughs would often drop without warning.

In Greek mythology, the Meliai were nymphs of the ash, perhaps specifically of the Manna Ash, as dryads were nymphs of the oak. Many echoes of archaic Hellene rites and myth involve ash trees.

The ash exudes a sugary substance that, it has been suggested, was fermented to create the Norse "Mead of Inspiration."

ash: Published with permission from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia