White Ash Fraxinus americana
Family: Oleaceae (Olive)
Branching: Opposite

A fairly common tree, in drier, more upland sites.  Looks, in many respects, similar to other Ashes (especially Green).  The leaf scar is often deeply indented by the bud that sits above it.  With the other Ashes, the bud just barely touches the leaf scar beneath it; though of course, this is variable.   The twigs of White Ash tend to be somewhat shiny (especially near the tips), whereas the other Ashes tend to have dull twigs.  White Ash bark, on mature trees, is very diagnostic and can be identified from far away.  It has a very regular, symmetrical pattern of interlocking fissures that give a diamond-like appearance.  Green/Red Ash can look similar, but the effect is not as pronounced.  Another helpful feature is the space between the end bud and the lateral buds beneath it.  On a White Ash (as well as Red and Green) the lateral buds are directly beneath the terminal bud, and are actually touching it.  There is usually a small space between the end bud and the lateral buds of a Black Ash.

White Ash twig, showing the indented leaf scar.  Often, the leaf scar is so indented that it looks like a smile.  

Another view of a very indented leaf scar.

Another view of  a White Ash twig

Another winter twig of White Ash

Young bark

Ash flowers are often afflicted by a gall-making insect which causes them to be retained over the winter

White Ash bark.  Very regular pattern to it; obvious from far away.

A mature ash, with another one behind and to the left

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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