Oregon Ash

Oregon AshOregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia

Oleaceae – Olive family

“Fraxinus” is the Latin name for the ash tree, derived from the Greek “phraxo” (to split) referring to the character of the hard wood. The specific name may have been derived from the appearance of the leaves or leaflets (“folia”) that are relatively broad (“latis”). The common name is derived from Old English “aesc.” Oregon ash is unrelated to the mountain ash, a member of the rose family.

Oregon Ash is a straight growing deciduous hardwood tree attaining heights of 60 to 100 feet in wet soils near streams, swamps, and seeps. The opposite leaves are 6 to 12 inches long, and are divided into five to seven oblong leaflets in opposite pairs. The light green leaves turn to a bright yellow in fall. Oregon ash trees are of separate sexes (dioecious). The female trees are recognized by the clusters of tan, single-winged samaras shaped like canoe paddles. The winged samaras are dispersed by floating with currents of wind or water. The bark has distinctive vertical ridges with a woven appearance.

The young, wide-ringed wood of the Oregon ash is resilient and is as favored for tool handles as that of the eastern ash. Some Native groups used the wood for canoe paddles and digging sticks. The boiled bark was reported by Erna Gunther to be a treatment for worms when the infusion was drunk (5-8).

Information courtesy of “The View From Springbrook Park; an Illustrated Natural History” by Ed Chinn. Photos taken by Laura Tanz
Sponsored by Friends of Springbrook Park; Lake Oswego, OR

This entry was posted on April 7, 2020, in Flora. Bookmark the permalink.