All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of E. Brunner.
Native or Introduced to Illinois: native
Natural Habit in Illinois: bottomland forests
Leaf: Leaves are deciduous, opposite, pinnately compound, 20-38 cm long, leaflets usually 7(5-9), short-stalked, ovate to ovate-lanceolate or elliptic, acuminate, 6-13 cm long and 3-6 cm wide, sometimes with a few teeth near the tip, dark green and smooth above, whitish below.
Flower: Flowers are numerous, very small, green to purplish, in small branched clusters near the branch tips, usually either male (staminate) or female (pistillate), a single tree usually bearing only one sex (the species dioecious).
Fruit: Fruits are samaras 2.5-5 cm long, hanging in clusters, with a narrow wing extending about 1/3-1/4 of the way down the cylindrical body.
Twig: Smaller branches are stout, round and smooth. At the tip of the twig there are always three buds, the large, brown, pyramidal terminal and two small lateral buds.
Bark: The bark is thick, dark gray, with a uniform, diamond-shaped ridge and furrow pattern.
Size/Form/Shape: Native trees growing to 20-30 m tall, maintaining a central leader (strong apical dominance) in youth with an even distribution of branches, developing a dense, conical or rounded crown at maturity. The trunk is long, straight, and free of branches for most of its length (except when open grown).
The wood of white ash is valued for its strength, hardness, heavy weight, and
elasticity (shock resistance). Native
Americans appreciated its usefulness for tools and implements, and it is used
extensively today for tool handles. Its
use in wooden baseball bats is famous. The
wood is also used in furniture, doors, veneer, antique vehicle parts, railroad
cars and ties, canoe paddles, snowshoes, boats, posts, ties, and fuel.
White ash is the most valuable timber tree of the various ashes.
White ash was used by native Americans for a variety of medicinal purposes: a
decoction of the leaves as a laxative and general tonic for women after
childbirth; the seeds as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, an appetite stimulant, a
styptic, an emetic, and as a cure for fevers; and a bark tea for an itching
scalp, lice, snakebite, and other sores. Juice
from the leaves has been applied to mosquito bites for relief of swelling and
White ash is browsed by
white-tailed deer and cattle and the bark of young trees may be eaten by beaver,
porcupine, and rabbits. The seeds
are eaten by wood duck, northern bobwhite, turkey, grouse, finches, grosbeaks,
cardinals, fox squirrel, mice, and many other birds and small mammals.
The tendency of white ash to form trunk cavities makes it valuable for
cavity nesters such as redheaded, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers. Once primary nest excavators have opened up the bole, it is
an excellent habitat for secondary nesters such as wood ducks, owls, nuthatches,
and gray squirrels.
County Distribution Map for Illinois:
Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:
- Illinois Plant Information Network (ILPIN) @ http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/delaware/ilpin/ilpin.html#Background
- List of Woody Plants Native or Naturalized in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/woody.html
- Tree Species @ http://ostermiller.org/tree/species.html
- Index to Eastern/Central Trees @ http://www.arborday.org/trees/ECtreelist.html
- ISU Forestry Extension Identification of Common Trees of Iowa @ http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pages/tree/
- Key to Leaves of Virginia Trees @ http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/forsite/key/intro.htm
- List of Native Trees for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/treetable.html
- The PLANTS Database @ http://plants.usda.gov/
The information below is from the National Arbor Day Foundation. This information can be viewed in the original (source) form by visiting The National Arbor Day Foundation at http://www.arborday.org.
Sun Exposure: This ash does well in full sun.
Soil Type: The White Ash grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wide range of soils. Tree is drought tolerant.
Moisture: White Ash prefers moist soil.
Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium growth rate.
Hardiness Zones: 4 - 9
This ash can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map.