Ashes are part of the Olive and Lilac family. These trees have a single strong branch, known as a leader, which grows straight up. They can live to 300 years old but have recently been put at risk from attacks by the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that has killed millions of ash trees.
The branches of the ash grow opposite to each other, as do the leaves.
The leaves are described as being pinnately compound meaning several small leaves, called leaflets, grow on the same stalk.
Ash wood is strong and is used for flooring, tool handles and baseball bats. In some species the growth ring patterns make the wood split nicely for baskets.
The Autumn Purple® White Ash is an ash that has been bred so that it has no seed pod. This is a cultivar of the White Ash, the most common native species. While the White Ash leaves turn yellow in the fall, the leaves of this cultivar turn a beautiful bronze-purple. The flowers are yellow but since this cultivar does not produce seeds, known as samara or keys, it is a popular street tree.
Most ashes, including the Golden Desert® Ash, have a single-seeded samara ("key") with a single, thin, wing. This cultivar of the common ash introduced from Europe is frequently planted for landscape purposes. The foliage is yellowish in spring, green-yellow in summer and yellow-gold in the fall.
There are two ash trees on the Jean Melrose Bevan Memorial Heritage Tree Walk. They include:
Artwork by Julian Mulock