Fraxinus nigra Marsh.

black ash

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Black ash is a slow-growing tree of northern wooded swamps. Though it rarely attains a wide girth, this slender tree can reach heights of 90 feet (27 m) or more. The species is dioecious; that is, male and female flowers are borne on different trees. It can also reproduce asexually by suckering. The fibrous, easy-to-split wood, is used for making baskets -- hence one of its common names, "hoop ash." Its seeds are important food sources for wetland birds.

Habitat

Floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests, swamps

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a tree
Leaf type
the leaf blade is compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaves per node
there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Leaf duration
the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is ridged or plated
Twig winter color
  • green
  • white
Bud scale number
  • there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
  • there are two scales on the winter bud, and their edges meet
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud position relative to scar
    the winter bud has a leaf scar just below it
    Bud scale number
    • there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
    • there are two scales on the winter bud, and their edges meet
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    the upper edge of the bud scar is straight across or slightly concave
    Bundle scar number
    5 or more
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Leaf scar arrangement
    there are two leaf scars per node on the stem or twig
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
    Terminal bud
    the branch has a terminal bud on it
    Winter bud scales
    the winter bud is perulate (partially or completely covered with one or more scales)
    Winter bud stalks
    the winter buds have no stalks
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescences grow on older branches
    Inflorescence type
    • the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
    • the inflorescence is a panicle (branched with the individual flowers on stalks)
    Number of pistils
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal fusion
    NA
    Sepal appearance
    NA
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Sepal tip glands
    NA
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    NA
    Stamen number
    1 or 2
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit has one or more wings on it
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf has no hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the hairs on the leaf blade are different from the choices given
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the main veins of the leaf blade are pinnate (the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the main central vein) and non-arcuate (not arched towards the leaf tip)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base toward the tip
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the plant is broad-leaved (with broadly flattened leaf blades)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf teeth
    the leaf blade margin is serrate (with forward-pointing) or dentate (with outward-pointing) with medium-sized to coarse teeth
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf is compound, with a single terminal leaflet and more than two additional leaflets
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant, or they fall off as the leaf expands
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • river or stream floodplains
    • swamps
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor, or it has an unpleasant or repellant odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is ridged or plated
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Lenticels on twigs
    there are clearly lenticels on the twigs
    Pith shape
    the outline of the pith in a twig is roughly round
    Short shoots
    there are no peg- or knob-like shoots present
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig hairs
    the twigs have few or no hairs on them
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig scales
    there are no scales on the twig surface
    Twig winter color
    • green
    • white
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Rhode Island
rare (S-rank: S2), concern (code: C)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Fraxinus americana:
leaf blades with 5-9 stalked leaflets and terminal winter bud adjacent to uppermost lateral buds (vs. F. nigra, with leaf blades with 7-13 unstalked leaflets and terminal winter bud separated from uppermost lateral buds). Fraxinus pennsylvanica: leaf blades with 5-9 stalked leaflets and terminal winter bud adjacent to uppermost lateral buds (vs. F. nigra, with leaf blades with 7-13 unstalked leaflets and terminal winter bud separated from uppermost lateral buds).

Family

Oleaceae

Genus

Fraxinus

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