Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Biltmore Ash - Fraxinus Biltmoreana

The Biltmore Ash - Fraxinus Biltmoreana, is a small tree that is very common from elevations between 700 and 2500 m, in the areas surrounding Biltmore (the area in which it is named for), Panther Creek, Station Cove, Tamassee Knob, Brevard Fault Zone of North Carolina, Savage Gulf and Fall Creek Falls in the Cumberland Plateau, Wadakoe Mountain in South Carolina.  Most areas in which the Biltmore Ash are found have exceptionally productive second growth hardwood forests, but are generally drier then mixed mesophytic forests containing Hickories instead of Buckeye or Basswood.  

Very closely related to White Ash in which it's growth range overlaps, although it's leaves and twigs are densely coated with fine hairs.  The seedlings are smooth until four or five years old, after which the young growth is pubescent.  The leaflets are tapering and narrow, but become thick and leathery and occasionally velvet like in the hottest an driest regions of it's growth zone.  The fruit body is plump and essentially round in shape, with wings extending no more than 1/3 of the way down the seed body.  The lumber is used locally for ax handles and wagons.

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