Black ash

Silhouette - black ash
  • Latin name: Fraxinus nigra Marsh.
  • French name: Frêne noir
  • Synonym(s): Swamp ash , hoop ash
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 32945
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf with detail of hairs at junction of leaflet and leaf stalk - black ash
  • Leaflet with detail of sharp teeth - black ash

Form

  • Pinnately compound
  • 7–11 leaflets
  • Leaflets elongated, oval, stalkless
  • Bases unequally rounded or broadly wedge-shaped
  • Tapered to a long, slender tip
  • Hairless except for dense tufts of hairs where leaflets attach to leaf stalk
  • Whole leaves rather than leaflets tend to fall in autumn

Length

  • Leaflets 10–14 cm
  • Leaflets and central stalk 15–30 cm

Colour

  • Both surfaces dark green
  • Hairs reddish-brown

Autumn colour

  • Reddish-brown

Margin

  • Finely and sharply toothed

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - black ash

Form

  • Terminal bud present, broad, pointed
  • Uppermost pair of lateral buds set distinctly below the terminal bud
  • Bark clearly visible above them
  • Leaf scars large, rounded

Length

  • Terminal bud 4–10 mm

Colour

  • Dark brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig - black ash

Form

  • Very stout
  • Raised lenticels when young

Colour

  • Bright green with dark purple becoming dull grey

Flowers

Form

  • Panicles
  • Flower clusters more likely to occur at the twig tip than in other ash species

Structure

  • Polygamo-dioecious

Floral timing

  • Before the leaves

Fruits

  • Fruit - black ash

Form

  • Wing broad, often twisted
  • Sometimes slightly notched at the tip
  • Extending to base of flattened seedcase  

Length

  • 2.5–4 cm

Structure

  • Samara

Bark

Form

  • Soft, with corky ridges that are easily rubbed off by hand
  • Becoming scaly 

Colour

  • Light grey

Wood

Morphology

  • Straight-grained, flexible

Uses

  • Snowshoe frames, barrel hoops, canoe ribs, woven basketware

Size

Height

  • To 20 m 

Diameter

  • To 50 cm

Tree form

  • Silhouette - black ash

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Slender
  • Sometimes bent or leaning

Crown

  • Narrow, open
  • Coarse, ascending branches

Root system

  • Shallow
  • Wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Common in northern swampy woodlands
  • Tolerates standing water for many weeks

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Associated species

  • Sometimes in pure stands
  • Usually mixed with black spruce, balsam fir, eastern white-cedar, speckled alder, red maple, and silver maple

Range

Eastern Manitoba to the Atlantic provinces 

Photos
  • Black ash
  • Black ash
  • Black ash
  • Black ash
Distribution map
Distribution map - black ash
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