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Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall

Green Ash, Red Ash, Swamp Ash, River Ash, Water Ash, Darlington Ash

Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Synonym(s): Fraxinus campestris, Fraxinus darlingtonii, Fraxinus lanceolata, Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. austinii, Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. integerrima, Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. lanceolata, Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. subintegerrima, Fraxinus smallii

USDA Symbol: frpe

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Softly pyramidal in youth, this 50-75 ft., deciduous tree, develops an upright, spreading habit at maturity. Crown shape ranges from irregular and somewhat unsightly to a symetrical, round-topped silhouette. Leaves up to 8 or more inches long, divided into 5 to 9 1eaflets with smooth to slightly toothed margins and pointed tips. Deep-green summer foliage turns yellow in fall. Flowers small, in clusters, male and female on separate trees. Fruits in conspicuous clusters, dry, winged, resembling a paddle with a rounded or pointed blade, wing extending alongside the seed halfway or more to the base.

The most widespread native ash, this species extends westward into the plains and nearly to the Rocky Mountains. A northeastern variation with twigs, leafstalks, and underleaf surfaces all densely covered with hairs has been called Red Ash. One of the most successful hardwoods in the Great Plains shelterbelts, hardy, fast-growing Green Ash is also planted on spoil banks after strip mining, as well as for shade.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: Up to about 75 feet tall.
Leaf: Yellow-Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: N.S. to Sask. & e. MT, s. to FL & e. TX
Native Habitat: Open woodlands, Stream, river banks, Swamps, Ditches, Ravines, Depressions

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, fertile, sandy to loamy soils. Acid-based, Sandy Limestone-based, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay


Use Ornamental: Shade tree, Fall conspicuous, Fast growing
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nesting site, Fruit-birds, Browse.
Use Other: Red ash bark produces a red dye, and the wood ashes are a source of potash. (Kershaw)
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Two-tailed tiger swallowtail, Tiger swallow-tail, Orange sulphur, Cloudless giant sulphur, Mourning Cloak.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Orange Sulphur
(Colias eurytheme)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Giant Sulphur
(Colias gigantea)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Mourning Cloak
(Nymphalis antiopa)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by pretreated seed.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require warm-moist stratification for 60 days, followed by 120 days at 32-41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1637 Collected 2014-11-01 in County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1998 VOL. 15, NO.1 - Potentials and Challenges Designing with Native Plants, Announcement of Wildflow...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Fraxinus pennsylvanica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Fraxinus pennsylvanica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Fraxinus pennsylvanica


Record Modified: 2015-11-12
Research By: NPC

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