Garden

Flowering ash

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The Flowering ash

The ash, Fraxinus ornus, also called "manna ash" is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It is quite widespread in our country both as an ornamental subject and in income cultivation. It is also found quite easily in the spontaneous state, throughout Italy, especially in mixed forests up to an altitude of 1200 m. above sea level. The ash is a deciduous tree that can reach 20 meters in height in nature. The foliage has an expanded shape. The leaves are pinnate, up to 20 cm long and more, made up of 5-9 leaflets, from oblong to ovate, each up to 12 cm long and up to 5 wide, the lateral petioles. The color is opaque green on the upper page, while they are paler on the lower. In autumn they turn towards a very bright yellow. The leaf buds, present in winter, appear dark gray.

The bark is gray and very smooth.


Flowers and fruits

The ash is a deciduous tree that can reach 20 meters in height in nature. The foliage has an expanded shape. The leaves are pinnate, up to 20 cm long and more, made up of 5-9 leaflets, from oblong to ovate, each up to 12 cm long and up to 5 wide, the lateral petioles. The color is opaque green on the upper page, while they are paler on the lower. In autumn they turn towards a very bright yellow. The leaf buds, present in winter, appear dark gray. The bark is gray and very smooth. The flowers are very showy. Just to underline this particularity, the ash is also nicknamed "flowering ash" to distinguish it from other ash trees, with mostly insignificant inflorescences. The individual flowers are small and white, with 4 slender petals up to 6 mm long, very fragrant. They are collected in large conical clusters, covered with hair, up to 20 cm long. They appear for about 20 days from late spring to early summer. The fruits are called "samare": up to 20 cm long, initially green and then pale brown when ripe. They end in a flat wing and are hanging from the branches. They remain on the tree all winter and are then transported by the wind.

This tree is used for ornamental purposes in gardens, both as an isolated specimen, and as a road tree or along avenues.

Also very interesting is the extraction of the manna, that is the sap (very sugary). The leaves are also used in herbal teas and decoctions for their diuretic and antipyretic properties. Fruits are eaten in the same way as capers.

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