Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Fraxinus excelsior
(ash)

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Datasheet

Fraxinus excelsior (ash)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Threatened Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Fraxinus excelsior
  • Preferred Common Name
  • ash
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); mature 30-year-old ash tree in a mixed stand in Bezange, France
TitleHabit
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); mature 30-year-old ash tree in a mixed stand in Bezange, France
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); mature 30-year-old ash tree in a mixed stand in Bezange, France
HabitFraxinus excelsior (ash); mature 30-year-old ash tree in a mixed stand in Bezange, France©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); five-year-old ash plantation in Reichstett, Rhine, France
TitleYoung plantation
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); five-year-old ash plantation in Reichstett, Rhine, France
Copyright©Francois Ningre, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); five-year-old ash plantation in Reichstett, Rhine, France
Young plantationFraxinus excelsior (ash); five-year-old ash plantation in Reichstett, Rhine, France©Francois Ningre, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); forking terminal branches of 5-year-old F. excelsior
TitleBranches
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); forking terminal branches of 5-year-old F. excelsior
Copyright©Francois Ningre, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); forking terminal branches of 5-year-old F. excelsior
BranchesFraxinus excelsior (ash); forking terminal branches of 5-year-old F. excelsior©Francois Ningre, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); leaf and fruits.
TitleLeaf and fruits
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); leaf and fruits.
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); leaf and fruits.
Leaf and fruitsFraxinus excelsior (ash); leaf and fruits.©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); terminal bud.
TitleTerminal bud
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); terminal bud.
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); terminal bud.
Terminal budFraxinus excelsior (ash); terminal bud.©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); female flowers.
TitleFemale flowers
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); female flowers.
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); female flowers.
Female flowersFraxinus excelsior (ash); female flowers.©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); male flowers.
TitleFlowers
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); male flowers.
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); male flowers.
FlowersFraxinus excelsior (ash); male flowers.©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); male and female flowers.
TitleFlowers
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); male and female flowers.
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); male and female flowers.
FlowersFraxinus excelsior (ash); male and female flowers.©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); fruits.
TitleFruits
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); fruits.
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); fruits.
FruitsFraxinus excelsior (ash); fruits.©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); seedling in Forêt de Haye, France
TitleSeedling
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); seedling in Forêt de Haye, France
Copyright©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); seedling in Forêt de Haye, France
SeedlingFraxinus excelsior (ash); seedling in Forêt de Haye, France©Jean-Francois Picard, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); European hornets (Vespa crabro) damaging the bark of an ash shoot.
TitleBark damage
CaptionFraxinus excelsior (ash); European hornets (Vespa crabro) damaging the bark of an ash shoot.
Copyright©Francois Ningre, INRA Nancy
Fraxinus excelsior (ash); European hornets (Vespa crabro) damaging the bark of an ash shoot.
Bark damageFraxinus excelsior (ash); European hornets (Vespa crabro) damaging the bark of an ash shoot.©Francois Ningre, INRA Nancy

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Fraxinus excelsior L.

Preferred Common Name

  • ash

Variety

  • Fraxinus excelsior var. aurea Pers.
  • Fraxinus excelsior var. diversifolia Aiton
  • Fraxinus excelsior var. pendula Aiton

Other Scientific Names

  • Fraxinus coriariifolia Scheele
  • Fraxinus excelsior f. aurea (Pers.) Scheele
  • Fraxinus excelsior f. aureo-pendula Rehder
  • Fraxinus excelsior f. diversifolia (Aiton) Lingelsh.
  • Fraxinus excelsior f. pendula (Aiton) Scheele
  • Fraxinus excelsior subsp. coriariifolia (Scheele) E. Murray
  • Fraxinus excelsior var. aurea Pers.

International Common Names

  • English: common ash; English ash; European ash
  • Spanish: fresno comun
  • French: frêne; frêne commun; frêne eleve; grand frêne
  • Portuguese: freixo-centro-europeu; frexio comum

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Esche; gemeine Esche; gewoehnliche Esche; gewohnliche Esche
  • Italy: frassino comune; frassino maggiore
  • Netherlands: gewone Esche
  • Poland: jesion
  • Sweden: vanlig ask

EPPO code

  • FRXEX (Fraxinus excelsior)

Trade name

  • black ash
  • Hurley ash
  • olive ash
  • Olivesche
  • Schneitelesche

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Oleales
  •                         Family: Oleaceae
  •                             Genus: Fraxinus
  •                                 Species: Fraxinus excelsior

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page The name Fraxinus was first mentioned by the Roman natural scientist Pliny in the first century AD (Plinii Naturalis Historia). The Latin name excelsior means higher, and suggests that the common ash is one of the most magnificent trees of Europe. Confusion with F. angustifolia, frequent in southern France, is possible although its buds are brown and its leaves are more small-lanceolote.

Description

Top of page General

A tree with a light crown, oval-shaped to spherical, with steeply angled branches, sparsely but regular branched on all sides. Monopodial growth. It can reach heights of more than 40 m at its maximum although 30 m is the norm. The average d.b.h. at maturity is 60-80 cm, although it may exceed 100 cm. A maximum d.b.h. of 190 cm at a height of 45 m was recorded by Mitchell (1978), diameters of more than 200 cm are given by Becker et al. (1982). The bole is straight, cylindrical with a slight tendency to eccentricity and can be clear of branches for 40-50% of the total height. Forking of shoots can occur after death of buds produced by late frost in spring or sudden onset of winter, after dry periods in plantations, or caused by attacks of insects or browsing by deer (Ningre et al., 1992; Duflot, 1995; Joyce et al., 1998).

Crown architecture and allometric relationships between stem development, crown dimension, foliage biomass and foliar density are described in Cluzeau et al. (1994), Goff and Ottorini (1996) and Ottorini et al. (1996). The root system is characterized as a sinker root system consisting of a taproot, and horizontally wide-spreading roots from which vertical or sinker roots develop (Kostler et al., 1968). The architecture of the root system can be modified, depending on soil conditions, from taproot type to sinker, superficial, and plate root systems without any vertical roots. The bark is olive-green and smooth in young trees but grey, rough and broad-furrowed on old trunks. It contains sclerified cells and relatively small but highly visible cork warts.

F. excelsior has sooty-black winter buds set in opposite pairs and smooth grey twigs. The leaves have 7-15 stalkless, broad or narrow, long-pointed leaflets, 5-12 cm x 1.5-4.5 cm, oblong-ovate to oblong-lanceolate, long-acuminate, tapering to a round base, sessile, crenate-serrulate, villous on the midrib and towards the base beneath.

Inflorescences, flowers and fruits

Panicles of purplish flowers develop from side buds in April before the leaves flush. The flowers are wind pollinated, trioecious, with male, female and bisexual flowers in different combinations on different trees (Mabberley, 1997). Petals and sepals are absent. Male flowers with two anthers, and female flowers with one ovary and two sterile anthers.

Fruit a samara (dry, indehiscent, winged, fruity), 2.5-5 cm long, 4-6 mm wide, lanceolate or broader towards the tip. Fructification starts at around 30 years but solitary trees may bear fruit much earlier. Mast years are usually every 2-3 years (Joyce et al., 1998). Ash seeds are flat, lanceolate and acuminate, with endosperm and flat embryo. They ripen on the tree during the period July to October and are shed by the wind over the winter and early spring. They germinate in the following spring after ripening in the warm for 6 months; a further 6 months in cool moist conditions are needed to break embryonic dormancy (Bartels, 1993). An account of natural dormancy breakage of ash can be found in Wagner (1996). The germination is epigeic. Cotyledons are tongue shaped.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

ArmeniaPresent Natural
IranPresent Natural
IraqPresent Natural
TurkeyPresent Natural

Europe

AlbaniaPresent Natural
AustriaPresentPlanted, Natural
BelgiumPresentPlanted, Natural
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresent Natural
BulgariaPresent Natural
CroatiaPresent Natural
Czech RepublicPresent Natural
Czechoslovakia (former)Present Natural
DenmarkPresentPlanted, Natural
EstoniaPresent Natural
FinlandPresent Natural
Former USSRUnconfirmed recordCAB Abstracts
FrancePresentPlanted, Natural
-CorsicaPresent Natural
GermanyPresentPlanted, Natural
GreecePresent Natural
HungaryPresent Natural
IrelandPresentPlanted, Natural
ItalyPresentPlanted, Natural
LatviaPresent Natural
LiechtensteinPresent Natural
LithuaniaPresent Natural
LuxembourgPresentPlanted, Natural
MacedoniaPresent Natural
MonacoPresent Natural
NetherlandsPresentPlanted, Natural
NorwayPresent Natural
PolandPresentPlanted, Natural
RomaniaPresent Natural
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Central RussiaPresent Natural
-Southern RussiaPresent Natural
SlovakiaPresent Natural
SloveniaPresent Natural
SpainPresent Natural
SwedenPresent Natural
SwitzerlandPresent Natural
UKPresentPlanted, Natural
UkrainePresent Natural
Yugoslavia (former)Present
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)Present Natural

Invasive Species Threats

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Invasive SpeciesWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Agrilus planipennis (emerald ash borer)Russia (Europe)Herbivory/grazing/browsingBaranchikov et al., 2008

References

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Asche N, 1995. Ash - ecological and silvicultural aspects. [Die Esche.] AFZ, Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift, 50(20):1087-1089; 8 ref.

Baranchikov Y; Mozolevskaya E; Yurchenko G; Kenis M, 2008. Occurrence of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis in Russia and its potential impact on European forestry. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin, 38(2):233-238. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/epp

Bartels H, 1993. Gehölzkunde [Dendrology]. Stuttgart, Germany: Ulmer Verlag.

Becker M; Picard JF; Timbal J, 1982. The Larousse guide to trees, shrubs and woody plants of western Europe. [Larousse des arbres, des arbustes et des arbrisseaux de l'Europe occidentale.] 331 pp.; 279 col. pl.

Bond CW, 1989. Timbers of Europe. In: Schniewind AP, ed. Concise Encyclopedia of Wood & Wood-base Materials. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.

Claessens H; Pauwels D; Thibaut A; Rondeux J, 1999. Site index curves and autecology of ash, sycamore and cherry in Wallonia (Southern Belgium). Forestry, 72:171-182.

Cluzeau C; Goff N le; Ottorini JM; Le Goff N, 1994. Development of primary branches and crown profile of Fraxinus excelsior. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 24(12):2315-2323; 44 ref.

Culleton N; Murphy WE; McLoughlin A, 1996. The use of fertilizers in the establishment phase of common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.). Irish Forestry, 53(1/2):28-35; 13 ref.

Dajoz R, 1998. Les insectes et la forêt - Rôle et diversité des insectes dans le milieu forestier [The insects and the forest - Role and diversity of insects in the forests]. Paris, France: Lavoisier.

Dobrowolska D; Hein S; Oosterbaan A; Wagner S; Clark J; Skovsgaard JP, 2011. A review of European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.): implications for silviculture. Forestry (Oxford), 84(2):133-148. http://forestry.oxfordjournals.org/

Duflot H, 1995. Le frêne en liberté [The ash in liberty]. Paris, France: Edition Institut pour le Développement Forestier.

Ellenberg H, 1986. Vegetation Mitteleuropas mit den Alpen in ökologischer, dynamischer und historischer Sicht. 4th edn. Stuttgart, Germany: Ulmer Verlag.

Evans J, 1984. Silviculture of broadleaved woodland. Bulletin, Forestry Commission, UK, No. 62, vii + 232 pp.; 75 pl.; 177 ref.

Evans J, 1986. Nutrition experiments in broadleaved stands: I. Pole-stage ash and oak. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 80(2):xx, 85-94; 16 ref.

Farmer RH, 1981. Handbook of Hardwoods. Second edition. London, UK: HMSO.

Fitzsimons B; Luddy WB, 1986. Growing ash for hurleys. Irish Forestry, 43(1):32-55; 5 ref.

Forestry Commission, 2003. The management of semi-natural woodlands. 2: Lowland beech-ash woods. Stockport, UK: Forestry Commission Publications.

Frochot H; LTvy G; LefFvre Y; Wehrlen L, 1992. Improving plantation establishment of high-value broadleaves: ash on a site with good water reserves. Revue Forestière Française, 44(Numéro spécial):61-65; 5 ref.

Gardner G, 1977. The reproductive capacity of Fraxinus excelsior on the Derbyshire limestone. Journal of Ecology, 65(1):107-118; 23 ref.

Goff N le; Levy G, 1984. Productivity of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in the Nord-Picardie region of France. B. Site/productivity relations. [Productivite du frene (Fraxinus excelsior L.) en region Nord-Picardie. B. - Etude des relations entre la productivite et les conditions de milieu.] Annales des Sciences Forestieres, 41(2):135-170; 34 ref.

Janse JD, 1981. The bacterial disease of ash (Fraxinus excelsior), caused by Pseudomonas syringae subsp. savastanoi pv. fraxini II. Etiology and taxonomic considerations. European Journal of Forest Pathology, 11(7):425-438

Janse JD, 1981. The bacterial disease of ash (Fraxinus excelsior), caused by Pseudomonas syringae subsp. savastanoi pv. fraxini. I. History, occurrence and symptoms. European Journal of Forest Pathology, 11(5/6):306-315

Joyce PM; Huss J; McCarthy R; Pfeifer A; Hendrick E, 1998. Growing broadleaves: silvicultural guidelines for ash, sycamore, wild cherry, beech and oak in Ireland. COFORD: x + 144 pp.; 4 pp. of ref.

Kerr G, 1995. Silviculture of ash in southern England. Forestry (Oxford), 68(1):63-70; 33 ref.

Kostler JN; Bruckner E; Bibelriether H, 1968. Die Wurzeln der Waldbaume [The root systems of forest trees.]. pp. 284. [17 pp. of refs. Price DM. 64.]. Hamburg, Germany: Paul Parey.

Le Goff N; Hautot A; Ningre F, 1998. Growth and development of young stands of ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) and wild cherry (Prunus avium L.). In: Production of Quality Wood from Broadleaves - Task 3: Young Stands Silviculture. Final Report of the EU Project No. AIR1-CT92-0608.

Le Goff N; Ningre F, 1989. Concurrence des rameaux latéraux vis-à-vis de la pousse terminale chez le frêne (Fraxinus excelsior L.): relation avec les défauts de branchaison et de fourchaison. In: Dreyer E, et al., eds. Forest Tree Physiology, Annales des Sciences Forestières, 46 suppl:213s-216s.

le Goff N; Ottorini JM, 1996. Leaf development and stem growth of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) as affected by tree competitive status. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33(4):793-802; 36 ref.

Mabberley DJ, 1997. The plant-book: a portable dictionary of the vascular plants. Ed. 2: xvi + 858 pp. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

Maurer E, 1963. Waldbauliche und holzkundliche Untersuchungen an Eschen aus dem Allgäu [Sylvicultural and wood quality investigations in ash from Allgäu]. Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt, 83:162-188.

Mitchell A, 1974. A field guide to the trees of Britain and northern Europe. London, UK; Collins. 415 pp. + 40 pl.

Ningre F; Cluzeau C; le Goff N, 1992. Stem forking of plantation-grown ash: causes, results and control. [La fourchaison du frene en plantation: causes, consequences et controle.] Commercially valuable hardwoods: ash, wild cherry and maples. Papers given during the 5th Series of scientific and technical days, held at Nancy-Champenoux, France [organized by Tacon, F. le]. Revue Forestiere Francaise, 44(Numero special):104-114; 7 ref.

Office National des Forêts, 1996. Sylviculture [Silviculture.]. Bulletin Technique - Office National des Forêts, No. 31:80 pp.

Opstal N, 2011. EPPO Workshop on Chalara fraxinea, a major threat for ash trees in Europe, Oslo, Norway, 30 June-2 July 2010. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin, 41(1):1-26.

Ottorini JM; le Goff N; Cluzeau C, 1996. Relationships between crown dimensions and stem development in Fraxinus excelsior. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 26(3):394-401; 35 ref.

Pavini C, 1989. Dimorphisme sexuel du frêne et consequences sylvicoles [Sexuel dimorphism of ash and silvicultural consequences]. Nancy, France: INRA.

Picard JF, 1982. Contribution to the study of flowering and fruiting in the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior). [Contribution a l'etude de la biologie florale et de la fructification du frene commun (Fraxinus excelsior L.).] Revue Forestiere Francaise, 34(2):97-107; 2 pl.; 16 ref.

Pilard-Landeau B; Le Goff N, 1996. Sylviculture du frêne. Office National des Forêts (ONF) - Bulletin Technique, No. 3, 9-14.

Poulain G; van der Stegen J, 1997. Qualité du Bois et Sylviculture du Frêne [Wood Quality and Silviculture of Ash]. Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie, France: Centre Regional de la Propriété Forestière (CRPF).

Savill PS, 1991. The Silviculture of Trees used in British forestry.

Spradbery JP, 1973. Wasps. London, UK: Sidgewick & Jackson.

Suszka B; Muller C; Bonnet-Masimbert M, 1994. Graines des feuillus forestiers: de la recolte au semis [Seeds of forest trees: from collection to seedlings.]. xxiv + 292 pp.; 12 col. pl., published as one of the INRA Techniques et pratiques series; 6 pp. of ref.

Thill A, 1979. Ash silviculture in Belgium. [La sylviculture du frene en Belgique.] Bulletin de la Societe Royale Forestiere de Belgique, 86(3):124-129.

Thill A; Mathy P, 1980. Cultivation of valuable species in Belgium. [La culture des essences precieuses en Belgique.] Annales de Gembloux, 86(1):1-32.

Ulrich B, 1995. The ecological soil condition - its change during the post-glacial period, and demands of tree species. [Der okologische Bodenzustand -seine Veranderung in der Nacheiszeit, Anspruche der Baumarten.] Forstarchiv, 66(4):117-127; With English figures and tables; 42 ref.

Wagner J, 1996. Changes in dormancy levels of Fraxinus excelsior L. embryos at different stages of morphological and physiological maturity. Trees: Structure and Function, 10(3):177-182; 22 ref.

Weber G, 1998. Wachstum und Ernährungszustand von jungen Eschen (Fraxinus excelsior L.) und Bergahorn (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) in Abhängigkeit von der Basen- und Al-Sättigung und vom Wasserhaushalt natürlicher Böden - Topfversuche und Freilandinventur [Growth and nutritional status of young ash and sycamore trees and their dependence on the base and Al saturation and on the water balance of natural soils - pot experiments and field investigations]. Dissertation, München, Germany: Hieronymus.

Weiser F, 1995. Studies into the existence of ecotypes of ash (Fraxinus excelsior). [Beitrag zur Existenz von Okotypen bei Gemeiner Esche (Fraxinus exelsior L.).] Forstarchiv, 66(6):251-257; 9 ref.

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