ASH ~ Common ash is found across Europe, from the Arctic Circle to Turkey. It is the third most common tree in Britain. It is currently being affected by Chalara dieback of ash, a disease caused by the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus (previously Chalara fraxinea).

Common name: ash, common ash, European ash

Scientific name: Fraxinus excelsior
Family: Oleaceae

UK provenance: native

Interesting fact: ash trees can live to a grand old age of 400 years - even longer if coppiced.

Overview: when fully grown, ash trees can reach a height of 35m. Tall and graceful, they often grow together, forming a domed canopy. The bark is pale brown to grey, which fissures as the tree ages. Easily identified in winter by smooth twigs that have distinctively black, velvety leaf buds arranged opposite each other.

Uses: People have used ash timber for years. It is one of the toughest hardwoods and absorbs shocks without splintering. It is used for making tools and sport handles, including hammers, axes, spades, hockey sticks and oars. An attractive wood, it is also used for furniture. Ash coppices well, which traditionally provided wood for firewood and charcoal.