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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Fraxinus latifolia

Oregon Ash

Flowering Period: Mar, Apr, May March April May
Flower color: yellow Flower color: green
Full sun Mostly sunny
Wet soil Moist soil


At a Glance: Tough-wooded tree with gray bark and compound leaflets arranged oppositely around twigs.

Height: Up to 82 feet (25 meters).
Growth Form: Tree.
Stems: Bark becomes greyish-brown and fissured with age.
Leaves: Pinnately compound with 5-7 oval leaflets, leaflets arranged oppositely, leaves turn yellow in fall; leaf size: up to 13 cm (5 in) long; color: olive green above, pale below.
Flowers: Flowers inconspicuous, appear before the leaves in bunched clusters on the twigs; primary color: yellowish (male), greenish (female); size: 3 mm across.
Flowering Period: March, April, May.
Fruits: Winged 1 seeded fruits (samaras) like half of a maple fruit; occur in large clusters on female tree; fruit stalks very fine; shape: paddle shaped; size: 3-5 cm (1-2 in) long.

Fraxinus latifolia
Photo © 2004, Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

Prefers to be near streams or areas that flood.

wet
moist
dry

low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Prefers saturated .
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: The seeds are eaten by grosbeaks, wood ducks, finches, grouse, and others. Provides nesting sites for birds, including cavity nesters.
Insects: Leaves eaten by butterfly larvae.
Mammals: Beavers use wood for dams, twigs and leaves are eaten by deer and elk.
Other Wildlife: Sapsuckers use them as drill sites.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Material Uses: The Cowlitz used the wood for canoe paddles and digging sticks. Traditional wisdom suggested that poisonous snakes would not crawl over Oregon Ash sticks. It was thought that poisonous snakes would not be found where this tree grows. Modern uses of the wood include furniture, flooring, boxes, and fuel.
Medicinal Uses: The bark was boiled and the infusion drank by the Cowlitz to remove worms.
Landscape Uses: Can be used to control erosion and stabilize streambanks.
Ecological Importance: Major provider of structure in certain wetlands such as the ash swales of Oregon.

Name Info: "ash" may derive from the Latin "ascia" meaning axe or "axis" meaning axle, since the wood of the European Ash is very tough and would have been used for such purposes.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.