Fraxinus excelsior L. - European ash.

Taxonomic position.

Family Oleaceae Hoffmgg. & Link, genus Fraxinus L.

Morphology and biology.

Deciduous tree up to 30-35 m tall. Bark of trunk grey, fissured; young branches smooth, olivaceous-grey. Buds large, velvety-black. Leaves opposite, imparipinnate. Leaflets subsessile, oblong, narrow-elliptic or lanceolate, unequally finely serrate at margins, glabrous or sparsely pilose beneath along mid-rib. Flowers aggregated in panicles located on last year's shoots. Flowers without perianth, bisexual, less often flowers with only stamens occur. Fruits linear-oblong, elongated elliptic samaras with rounded base, often spirally twisted.
Anemophilous. Anemochore. Propagates by seeds.
Flowers in April - May before leaves coming out, mature fruits in August. 2n=46.


Europe; European part of Russia (western, southern and central areas, eastward up to the Volga River); Crimea (south); Caucasus; Turkey.


Mesophyte. Photophilous. Occurs in broad-leaved and mixed forests on fertile soils. Rarely forms mono-dominant communities. Often forms mixed ash-oak forests, typical of the southern belt of the broad-leaved region, and forests in conjunction with black alder in river flood-plains and in ravines with fertile soils. In the northern and western parts of the range, occurs as an admixture in broad-leaved spruce forests.

Use and economic value.

Technical, medicinal, ornamental. Provides valuable wood with beautiful texture. Widely used in planting inhabited areas, along roads and field-shelter forestry.


Grossheim AA. 1967. Flora of Caucasus. 2nd ed. V.7. P.197. (In Russian).
Gubanov IA., Kiseleva KV., Novikov VS., Tikhomirov VN. 2004. Illustrated Manual of the Middle Russia Plants. V.3. Moscow: KMK. 520 p. (In Russian).
Mayevsky PF. 2006. Flora of the middle zone of European part of Russia. 10th ed. Moscow. 600 p. (In Russian).
Sokolov SI., Svjaseva OA., Kubli VA. 1986. Ranges of trees and shrubs of the USSR. V.3. Leningrad: Nauka. P.121-122. (In Russian).

© I.G.Chukhina

© Photo by D.O.Eliseev

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