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12 Species of Ash Trees

Members of the Genus Fraxinus

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Ash trees are placed in the genus Fraxinus in the olive (Oleaceae) family. They are often used as shade, lawn and street trees. You can spot one by looking for trees with opposite branching (not many trees do this) and compound leaves. They are dioecious and male trees can be chosen if you don't want fruit. The fruits are samaras, which are winged seeds like those of maples. They are usually grouped in clusters on the stem.

Ash trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer. A key to control is not moving infested ash firewood around. You may also want to choose another kind of tree if emerald ash borer is known to be in your state.

1. Black Ash

A common type of ash tree is the black ash.
Image by lstreet2010 via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus nigra
  • Native to: Eastern Canada and northeastern US
  • USDA Zones: 2-6
  • Height: 40-60' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 7-11

The wood structure of black ash makes it a great choice for weaving, as it is pliable. This tree can grow well in cold and wet locations.

2. Blue Ash

Another ash species is Fraxinus quadrangulata or blue ash
Image by masebrock via Wikimedia
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus quadrangulata
  • Native to: Midwestern US
  • USDA Zones: 4-7
  • Height: 50-70' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 7-11

The name blue ash comes from the fact that the inner bark turns blue in air and was used to make dye. Choose this ash tree for a location that does not drain well.

3. California Ash

The California ash (Fraxinus dipetala) is a California native
Image by scott.zona via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus dipetala
  • Native to: Calfornia, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Baja California
  • USDA Zones: 7-9
  • Height: Up to 20' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 3-9

The California ash is a small tree that can tolerate some drought. Dipetala means two petals, and another name for this species is two-petaled ash.

4. Carolina Ash

Carolina ash may also be called water ash, swamp ash, pop ash or Florida ash.
Image by homeredwardprice via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus caroliniana
  • Native to: Southern US
  • USDA Zones: 7-9
  • Height: 30-40' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 5-7

The Carolina ash prefers wet soils and is often found in swampy areas. Other common names include Florida ash, swamp ash, water ash and pop ash.

5. European Ash

  • Latin Name: Fraxinus excelsior
  • Native to: Europe & southwestern Asia
  • USDA Zones: 5-8
  • Height: 60-80' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 7-13

As the name suggests, the European ash can be found throughout Europe. It is also known as the common ash. Look for black buds as a characteristic to distinguish them from other ashes, which usually have brown buds.

6. Green Ash

Green ash is one common ash species.
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus pennsylvanica
  • Native to: Eastern and northern North America
  • USDA Zones: 3-9
  • Height: 50-60' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 5-9

The green ash is one of the most common ashes found in the landscape. It can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions and is especially forgiving of conditions like pollution and salt in urban areas. Other common names include red ash, swamp ash and water ash.

7. Gregg's Ash

The Gregg ash comes from the Southwest United States.
Image by homeredwardprice via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus greggii
  • Native to: Arizona, New Mexico and Texas
  • USDA Zones: 7-10
  • Height: 15-20' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 3-11

Gregg's ash is a large shrub that can be trained into a small tree. It can be drought tolerant once established and used as a container specimen. These have smaller leaves than other ash tree species. Other common names include littleleaf ash, Mexican ash and dogleg ash.

8. Manna Ash

Manna ash comes from Europe and Asia.
Image by wallygrom (very busy at work) via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus ornus
  • Native to: Southern Europe and southwestern Asia
  • USDA Zones: 6-9
  • Height: 40-50' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 5-9

Manna ash is named after the food in the Bible because of its sweet sap extract. The sugar alcohol mannitol and sugar mannose can be taken from this sap. Its other common name is flowering ash. This has one of the prettiest flower shows of the ashes, appearing in May.

9. Narrow Leaf Ash

Narrow leaf ash comes from Europe, Africa and Asia
Image by wlcutler via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus angustifolia
  • Native to: Southwest Asia, southern and central Europe, and northwest Africa
  • USDA Zones: 5-8
  • Height: 50-80' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 7-13

The narrow leaf ash does well in urban settings and in acidic soil. A second common name is desert ash.

10. Pumpkin Ash

Pumpkin ash
Image by cm195902 via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus profunda
  • Native to: Eastern North America
  • USDA Zones: 5-9
  • Height: 60-80' tall, sometimes over 100'
  • Number of Leaflets: 7-9

The name pumpkin ash comes from the fact that the base of the trunk becomes engorged and can look like a pumpkin, especially in wet soils. The other common names are swell butt ash and red ash.

11. Velvet Ash

Velvet ash may also be called Arizona ash.
Image by Miwasatoshi via Creative Commons
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus velutina
  • Native to: Southwestern North America
  • USDA Zones: 7-10
  • Height: 30-50' tall
  • Number of Leaflets: 3-5

The velvet ash is drought tolerant and does well in wet or alkaline soils also. This is also known as the Arizona ash and Modesto ash.

12. White Ash

Image by Willow via Creative Commons
  • Latin Name: Fraxinus americana
  • Native to: Eastern North America
  • USDA Zones: 3-9
  • Height:50-80' and can get taller
  • Number of Leaflets: 5-9

White ash is one of the more common ash trees in the United States. This shade tree will put on a good show in the fall. It is a common source for wooden baseball bats. Another name is Biltmore ash.

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