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The ashes and the Ashleaf Maple, or Box Elder, are our only native trees with opposite feather-compound leaves. All are tall trees. Young trees may be distinguished from shrubs with similar leaves by the presence of true end buds. These are lacking in the shrubby species (see Plate 8). In winter, ashes are the only plants having: 4 or more bundle scars per leaf scar, central end buds present (but not exceptionally large), and opposing leaf scars that do not meet. At that season, Ashleaf Maple has green or purplish, smooth, hairless, often white-powdered, twigs whose opposite leaf scars meet at raised points. See Japanese Corktree {p. 52),

Identification of ash species is never simple except for a few well-marked forms. If the winged fruits, which look like the blades of canoe paddles, are present they may be useful. The leaflets may be variably toothed or not within a single species (except as noted. Plates 9-10), Though found most frequently as shown in the drawings, slight variations from this shape are common.

Usually the twigs of the 3 hairy types are obviously velvety; only rarely is it necessary to use a lens, fhe flowers are dark, clustered but without petals and inconspicuous. Leaf scars are large, shield-shaped, with numerous bundle scars; buds have a somewhat granular surface texture,

The ashes yield quality lumber for furniture, tool handles, baseball bats, baskets, and many special purposes. The twigs serve as deer food; the flowers provide pollen for bees. Indians once made a dark bitter sugar from the sap.

BLUE ASH Fraxinus quadrangulata Michx. p. 60

Recognition: A tree of high ground with vigorous twigs often square in cross section. Twigs hairless, with long lines leading from leaf scars. Leaflets 7-11, green beneath, stalked and

IL ASHES

always toothed, Upper edges of leaf scars only shallowly notched. Trunk bark whitish and somewhat scaly. Leaves

8"-12", Height 60'-70# (115'); diameter 2'-3' Flowers

April-May. Fniits with broad squared tips, June-Oet. Similar species: No other opposite-leaved plant has such squarish twigs and shield-shaped leaf scars. Where twigs are not sharply angled, the long lines along them are distinctive. Remarks: Inner bark yields a blue dye.

WHITE ASH Fraxi nus americatui L. pp. 7, 60

Recognition; An upland tree with twigs that have the brown side buds usually set in deep [/- or V-shaped notches in upper edges of leaf scars. Twigs round and hairless. Leaflets 5-9, stalked (sometimes short-stalked), usually white or pale beneath and either toothed or not. Trunk bark rather dark and tight with rigid interwoven pattern of shallow ridges and furrows.

Leaves 8"-12". Height 70'-80' (100'); diameter 2'-T {7'). Flowers April-June. Fruits narrow, Oct,-Nov, Similar species: When present, very deeply notched leaf scars are a good field mark among ashes with hairless twigs- Unfortunately, there is some variation in depth of notch in this and other species. Doubtful cases must be identified by fruits. Biltmore Ash, a variety, has hairy twigs.

Remarks: Most valuable and largest native ash, providing hard, strong, durable timber for furniture, interior decorating, agricultural implements, tool handles, oars, tennis rackets, musical instruments, baseball bats, snowshoes, and skis. As a cainpfire fuel, it ranks with oak and hiekorv,

BLACK ASH Fraxi nus nigra Marsh. p, 60

Recognition: A tree of swamps and bottomlands whose leaflets are not stalked. The 7-11 leaflets always toothed. Twigs round, hairless, rather dull. Leaf scars not deeply notched. Buds very dark, nearly black. Trunk bark generally rather tight and furrowed but may be somewhat scaly. Leaves 12"-16". Height 40'—80'; diameter l'-2\ Flowers April-May. Fruits blunt at both ends; June-Sept.

Similar species: Roth (!) White and (2) Green Ashes may have short-stalked leaflets but they lack dark buds and blunt fruits of this species.

Remarks: Known also as I loop or Basket Ash. Short logs or planks when hammered repeatedly on the ends split along the annual growth rings into thin sheets that can be cut into strips tor weaving pack baskets, chair seats, barrel hoops, etc. Knotty burls of the trunk are made into veneers and furniture.

GREEN ASH p. 60

Fraxi11us petinsyIvanica var. subintegerrima (Vahl) Fern,

Recognition: A lowland tree whose leaflets are stalked (some-

Copy rig fitedl m aterial

II. ASHES

times short-stalked. Leaflets 5-9, green on both sides, toothed or not. Twigs hairless, mostly shiny and buds brownish. Trunk bark tight and closely furrowed. Leaves 10"-12". Height 60-70'; diameter 2-3' (4'), Flowers April-May. Fruits wedge-shaped, Sept.-Oct.

Similar species; A hairless variety of (1) Red Ash; intermediate specimens occur* (2) See also Black Ash, (3) Water Ash may have hairless twigs but has scaly bark, wider fruit, usually swollen trunk base.

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