8 julio, 2024

Ash tree: what it is, characteristics, habitat, care, uses

What is the ash tree?

He ash tree (Fraxinus) is a genus of plants belonging to the Oleaceae family that is made up of 45-65 species. It is distributed in America, Europe, Asia and North Africa, in temperate forest ecosystems with some species adapted to the tropics.

It is a large deciduous tree with broad foliage, rough and greyish bark, lanceolate and serrated compound leaves, paniculate flowers and winged fruits. The word ash derives from the Latin Fraxinus.

The gender Fraxinus It is often known as ash, common ash, true common ash, or broadleaf ash. In some regions it is called northern ash, European ash, elevated ash, Vizcaya ash, frágino, fragino, fleja, frejú, frexno and frexo.

In the Iberian Peninsula and part of Europe the species are common Fraxinus excelsior (Biscay ash) and Fraxinus ornus (flower ash), being more frequent and numerous the Fraxinus angustifolia (Castilla ash or narrow-leaved ash).

Ash is a species used in carpentry and joinery, it is an excellent fuel material and it is considered a honey plant. In the medicinal field it has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, astringent properties, it is antirheumatic, anthelmintic and laxative.

Ash Characteristics

The ash tree is a tall tree —from 15 to 35 m—, with an open, oval-shaped crown and spreading branches. The trunk is straight, solid and cylindrical, with rough bark that is greyish in color and heavily cracked in older trees.
The leaves, composed of 9 to 13 leaflets, with slightly serrated edges, glossy green, are deciduous in winter. The tiny flowers of both sexes lack petals and sepals, have shades of white to purple, and bloom from April to May.
The leaves sprout in the course of spring after flowering. The green winged fruits hang in clusters called sámaras, as they mature they acquire a brown coloration.
The seeds are easy to harvest.
In leaves and bark, the presence of carbohydrates —dextrose, inositol, mannitol—, organic acids —malic acid— and pentacyclic triterpene —ursolic acid— is common. Likewise, some polyphenolic compounds, flavonic pigments —quercetin, rutosic, rutin—, coumarin heterosides, alkaloids —fraxin, fraxinol—, tannins, resins and essential oils.


Kingdom: Plantae.

Subkingdom: Tracheobionta.

Division: Magnoliophyta.

Class: Magnoliopsida.

Subclass: Asteridae.

Order: Lamiales.

Family: Oleaceae.

Tribe: Oleeae.

Subtribe: Fraxininae.

Gender: Fraxinus tourn. ex L.

Distribution and habitat

The ash tree (Fraxinus) is a genus native to North Africa that is distributed in temperate regions of Europe, America, and Asia. In some tropical areas there are some medium-sized evergreen species.

It is a tree adapted to temperate climates and supports strong winds, however, it does not tolerate high temperatures and lack of humidity. It is located on the banks of rivers and streams, in slightly alkaline soils and humid forests.


The ash tree is a rustic tree highly resistant to attack by pests, diseases and environmental contamination. It is used in urban planning and gardening, since it adapts to different conditions. It requires deep soils, with a high moisture content and organic matter.

The care that an ash tree requires is not limited to the selection of the planting site, which must be wide and clear. Cultural tasks related to irrigation, fertilization, pruning and comprehensive control of pests and diseases must be kept in mind.


The plant requires fertile soils, with a high content of organic matter, loose, deep, humid, slightly acid or alkaline.


The establishment of ash plantations is done through fertile seeds. The seeds require a stratification process of 2 to 4 months at an average temperature of 4ºC.

The natural stratification of the seeds occurs during the winter. After several hibernative periods germination occurs. Artificially, through cold stratification, it is possible to achieve effects similar to nature.


In natural environments, the ash tree grows and develops near water sources, since it requires abundant humidity. For this reason, plants grown in populated sites require constant watering in order to maintain root moisture.


Ash is very resistant to low temperatures and frost. However, it is not very tolerant of dry or very hot weather conditions.

Solar radiation

The plants develop in full sun exposure, although certain species require less radiation and more shading.


A partial or severe annual pruning is recommended, depending on the age of the tree and the physical conditions of the plant. Training pruning is essential to guide the shape of the tree during the first years.

Uses and applications

The various species of ash have multiple medicinal properties, being widely used for the preparation of home remedies. In addition, it produces a strong and elastic wood, used to make floors, plates, canes, oars, and handles for various utensils.

Medicinal properties

The leaves, bark, tender shoots and fruits of the ash tree are used for medicinal purposes. This plant has analgesic, astringent, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, healing, diuretic and venotonic properties.
The leaves of the ash tree have been used since ancient times as a curative remedy for different diseases. In the pharmacopoeia manual of Dioscorides, a doctor and botanist of Greek origin, the use of poultices as a cure for viper bites is mentioned.
In traditional medicine, the dried leaves are used in infusion or tea, and the decoctions of pieces of bark. Likewise, leaves and bark are ingredients of syrups, liquid extract, alcoholic tincture, organic oils, capsules, powders or as an ingredient in ointments and creams.
Ash is used as an analgesic to relieve inflammatory processes in joints and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The macerated leaves are applied topically in the form of compresses, creams or ointments.
The decoction or infusions of ash leaves have excellent diuretic and cleansing properties. It is recommended to increase the flow of urine in case of favoring the elimination of urea from the body and kidney stones.
The application of macerates on the skin favors the cure of conditions such as dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, boils, wounds or eczema.
Eliminate halitosis or bad breath.
Prevents diseases of the liver and gallbladder.


The wood is strong, elastic and malleable, which provides an excellent relationship in terms of resistance and quality. It is used in carpentry and cabinetmaking to make veneers, decorative coatings, handles for axes, rackets, canes, etc.
The wood is light in color with brown-colored veins. It is a dense and flexible wood, with a smooth grain and medium grain. Easy machining and workability.
Ash wood is used for the manufacture of furniture for the home, interior lining, turning and decorative veneers. Its use is suitable for the manufacture of sporting goods, handles for various functional implements, agricultural tools and automotive details.


Fresno, the spring of health. Recovered from cuerpomente.com.
Ash Wood: Characteristics and Uses. Recovered from maderame.com.

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