Arizona ash, Desert ash, Velvet ash
Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
This ash is a small to medium-sized, deciduous
usually no taller than 40 ft. in cultivation. Tree
with open, rounded crown of spreading branches and leaflets quite variable in shape and hairiness. Spreading branches form a rounded crown. Bark
is deeply furrowing into ridges. Pinnately compound
foliage turns yellow in fall.
This variable species is the common ash in the Southwest, where it is planted as a shade and street tree. It is hardy in alkaline soils and fast-growing. In
the desert, ash trees indicate a permanent underground water supply. The leaflets of different shapes are often covered with velvety hairs beneath, as the scientific and common names imply, but also may be hairless. Modesto Ash is a rapidly growing, cultivated variety, widely planted as a street tree
in dry areas (including alkaline soils) in California and the Southwest.
Image Gallery: 2 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
, UT Native Distribution:
s. to w. TX,
n. Mex. & s. CA Native Habitat:
Desert & chaparral streambanks & canyons
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: F. velutina is an extremely variable species. F. velutina var. coriacea grows in CA; F. velutina var. glabra grows in TX. All varieties are fast-growing and relatively short-lived.