Thursday, May 12, 2016

Meet the Carolina Ash - Fraxinus caroliniana

The Carolina Ash - Fraxinus caroliniana, is most easily identified by it's multi-trunk growth habit and rhomboid or diamond shaped samara.  This Ash is a small deciduous tree that reaches heights of between 8-45 feet tall witha leaning, clumping form, short trunks and an open crown.  It is native to the United States in swamps, woodlands, floodplains, river-stream banks and even in standing water along the Coastal Plains of Southeastern Virginia through Florida, continuing West through Arkansas and Texas.  It is very closely related to the others species within the Water Ash group which is sometimes considered to be it's own family separate from the rest of the Ashes.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The bark is grey or pale grey and often blotchy in appearance.  The leaves are opposite and pinnately compoundcontaining 5-7 leaflets each.  The terminal leaflet is most often rounded.  The upper surface of the leaves are a dark green while the lowers are pale in comparison.  In the fall the leaves turn a dingy or dirty yellow color.  The fruit is a samara that is 35-46 mm long, 12-22 mm broad and generally diamond shaped witha wing originating at or below the base of the seed body. 

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

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