White Ash

Fraxinus americana L.



All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of E. Brunner.

Family:  Oleaceae

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). 

County Distribution Map for Illinois:  


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:

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.