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Description for Fraxinus americana
Fraxinus americana is a species of ash tree native to eastern and central North America. It is found in mesophytic hardwood forests from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota, south to northern Florida, and southwest to eastern Texas.
Planting and care
Fraxinus americana is a fine timber tree up to about 30 m in height, with a long, straight trunk and a rounded crown at maturity. The bark is dark grey with a uniform diamond-shaped ridge and furrow pattern.
The leaves are deciduous, dropping in the autumn. They occur in opposite pairs, each leaf divided into seven or nine (rarely five) leaflets. The leaflets are dark green above and usually appear white beneath due to a waxy coating.
Caring for Fraxinus americana
- The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), a beetle native to Asia, is a serious threat to Fraxinus species in North America.
- It is thought to have been introduced to North America in wooden packing material and in 2002 was identified as the cause of the decline and mortality of ash trees that had been noted in the Detroit (Michigan) metropolitan area.
- It has since caused extensive damage to ash trees in the USA and Canada, killing an estimated 30 million trees.
- It has now been discovered in the region of Moscow and there is concern it could spread to the rest of Europe, leading to further economic and ecological damage.
- Much work is hence being carried out to prevent the spread of this beetle to protect ash trees.
Typical uses of Fraxinus americana
Special features: Planting new ash trees is no longer recommended given the susceptibility of this tree to the emerald ash borer.
Culinary use: na
Ornamental use: White ash is planted as an ornamental tree in parks and large gardens. Cultivars such as Fraxinus americana â€˜Autumn Purpleâ€™ provide a variety of autumn leaf colours.
Medicinal use: The bark is astringent, emmenagogue and a bitter tonic. An infusion is used to promote menstruation. It has also been used as a wash to treat skin sores, itches and vermin on the scalp
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