Green Ash – Fraxinus pensylvanica

illustration of two green ash trees

The names Green Ash and Red Ash are synonymous, and although they were once considered two separate varieties, the distinction is no longer upheld by most botanists. This medium-sized deciduous tree is native to eastern and central North America, and is the most widely distributed of all American ashes. It is 30†to 50†in height. Young trees possess smooth, gray bark that becomes thick and fissured with age. Terminal, ovoid buds are described as velvety due to their hairy, rusty-red scales.

Although it is hardy to climatic extremes and can develop in the most adverse conditions, it prefers moist to wet habitats. Its economic uses are similar to White Ash, but produces an inferior quality wood.

Until the past decade, Green Ash was commonly grown as an ornamental because it is attractive, hardy, and adaptable to adverse conditions. In the 1990s, however, the emerald ash borer, a beetle native to Asia, was introduced into the United States, and is proving to be extremely invasive and destructive to the entire genus Fraxinus.