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Poppy Ash Fraxinus caroliniana

Phonetic Spelling
FRAK-si-nus kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-uh
Description

Fraxinus caroliniana, or Carolina Water Ash, is a rather small, long-lived deciduous tree or shrub that is native to the southeastern US, often enlarged at the base and leaning, with a rounded or narrow crown. It grows only in the deeper swamps and along river bottoms of the Carolina coastal plains and Piedmont areas, although some specimens have been found in Wake and Anson counties. Typically, the tree grows to 25 feet tall with a diameter of 6 to 8 inches.  It does not tolerate salt spray or brackish waters. In nature it is an understory tree in moist to wet, shady sites with acidic soil.

The leaves are interesting, fairly large and pinnately compound. The winged seed pods hang in groups and add additional interest. Use it in wet areas of the yard or where there is frequent standing water, pond margins, boggy areas or low-lying sites.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Susceptible to the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), a very destructive wood-boring beetle native to Asia. It was discovered in North America in July 2002, and has become established in Michigan, New York, Ohio and Ontario (Canada). Millions of ash trees have been killed in the northeastern US.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native tree#boggy#interesting leaves#wetlands#wet sites#pond margins#NC native#swamps#bogs#long lifespan#Braham Arboretum#showy seedheads#food source fall#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains OBL#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterflies#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native tree#boggy#interesting leaves#wetlands#wet sites#pond margins#NC native#swamps#bogs#long lifespan#Braham Arboretum#showy seedheads#food source fall#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains OBL#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterflies#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Fraxinus
    Species:
    caroliniana
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood of this tree is light and soft and is not used commercially.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States to Cuba
    Distribution:
    Throughout the southeaster states. North Carolina coastal plain and Piedmont.
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval host plant for Eastern tiger swallowtail. It is an important forage plant for deer and seeds are eaten by waterfowl, which also use it for roosting.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-trunked
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Flattened broad-wing samaras are 1 1/2 to 2 inches long and 1/2- 3/4 inches wide. The violet wings hang well below the seed portion and there can be 2 to 3 wings. Matures from July to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Green to purplish flowers are dioecious and appear in spring in clusters before the leaves. Male flowers are in a dense mass while female flowers are a more open cluster or panicle. They bloom in May. Similar to those of other ash species.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The pinnately compound leaves have 5 to 9 leaflets and are 7 to 12 inches long. Leaflets are 2 to 4 inches long and 2 inches across with a usually serrated margin but sometimes entire. Upperside is dark green and the underside is paler and smooth. Overall feel is thick and smooth.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Scaly
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    Scaly bark, gray to slightly orange-brown, sometimes splotchy. Irregular scaly ridges develop with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are smooth but sometimes fuzzy, gray-brown, with oval leaf scars.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil