Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Fraxinus nigra Marshall
- Family: Ash (Oleaceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: This ash is distinguished by its leaflets which lack stalks and its fruits that are
blunt and notched at the end.
- Habitat: Swamps, swampy woods, sometimes in standing water.
- Habit: Medium tree up to 70 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 2 feet; crown broadly rounded.
- Bark: Light gray, scaly.
- Bark: Stout, gray or brown, smooth; leaf scars opposite; bundle traces forming a half moon; buds conical, blue-black, finely hairy.
- Leaves: Opposite, pinnately compound, with 7-11 leaflets; leaflets without stalks, except for the terminal one, lance-shaped, long-pointed at the tip, tapering or rounded at the somewhat asymmetrical base, up to 6 inches long, less than half as wide, toothed, paler on the lower surface with rusty hairs on the veins.
- Flowers: Small, in elongated clusters, purplish, some with both stamens and pistils, some only with stamens, some only with pistils.
- Sepals: Small, 4-cleft.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 2.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, smooth.
- Fruits: Oblong, winged fruits, rounded at the base, blunt and notched at the tip, up to 1 1/2 inches long, up to 1/2 inch broad, with a single seed at the base.
- Notes: The leaflets turn reddish brown in the autumn. Deer and moose browse the twigs and young leaves, while birds and many species of animals eat the seeds. The wood of black ash is used for cabinets and furniture.
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