West Highland Flora

Ash


Fraxinus excelsior

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
23 Sep 2002 Glenbrittle, Skye

Common in woods, and in any lowland ground where trees are allowed to get a foothold, preferring less acid soils.  In limestone woods is often the dominant tree.  Often absent from the more acid and upland wooded areas, but sometimes the odd isolated specimen is found, occasionally even in open moorland as in the picture on the left.

Height up to 25 m.  Terminal buds c 5-10 mm.  Leaflets c 5-8 cm

ID: Leaves in opposite pairs on the twig, each leaf having several opposite pairs of leaflets.  Rowan has similar leaves but they are alternately arranged on the twig.  Ash is also easily recognised at any time of year by the large black buds (see fourth picture)

Other features: In Spring the black buds open to reveal petalless flowers with purple stamens, followed by the leaves.  The winged fruits are called "keys", they spin as they fall to earth owing to the twisting of the wing.  Some trees have male or female flowers only, others have both.  A tree without keys is either a male-only tree or one too young to have reached fruiting age.

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
29 Sep 2001 Scorrybreac, Skye

  Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
29 Sep 2001 Scorrybreac, Skye

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
2 May 2002 Portree, Skye

  Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
16 Apr 2003 Portree, Skye

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
16 Apr 2003 Portree, Skye

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
14 May 2003 Portree, Skye

 

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
21 Oct 2003 Portree, Skye

Above: young keys
Right: old keys
 

 

Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
18 Oct 2003 Scorrybreac, Skye
 

  Fraxinus excelsior

Photo Carl Farmer
18 Oct 2003 Scorrybreac, Skye
 

Ash in its autumn glory. growing among Hazel and Downy Birch


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