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Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Common Name(s):
Green ash
var. Dakota Centennial Lanceolata, Cimmzan
Native Plants, Trees

The Fraxinus pennsylvanica is a large shade tree in the Oleaceae family that may grow 50 to 120 feet tall.   The bark is gray-brown with shallow furrows and crisscrossing ridges which form x-patterns.  This tree transplants well and grows in a variety of locations and soils.  It tolerates drought, wind, and salt.  There are many cultivars.

Planting new green ash trees is no longer recommended given the susceptibility of this tree to the emerald ash borer. Ash trees have typically been used over time in a variety of applications including shade tree, street tree or lawn tree.

Regions: Piedmont, Coastal Plain

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Fall         Flower:   Spring               Fruit/Seed: Fall

Wildlife Value: The Green ash is a host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and many moths.  The bark is eaten by rabbits, porcupines, and beavers.  Its foliage is browsed by white-tailed deer, seeds are eaten by birds, squirrels, and other small mammals.  Its foliage is frequently damaged by the browsing deer.

Play Value: Wind Screen & Buffers; Wildlife Enhancement

Insects, Diseases, and Other Pest Problems:  The Emerald ash borer will typically kill an ash tree within 3-5 years after infestation. Once infestation occurs, it is very difficult to eradicate this pest which feeds under the bark and bores into wood. This borer now constitutes a serious threat to all species of ash in North America. Green ash trees are generally susceptible to a number of additional insect problems including ash borer, lilac borer, carpenter worm, oyster shell scale, leaf miners, fall webworms, ash sawflies and ash leaf curl aphid. Potential disease problems include fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, rust, anthracnose, cankers and ash yellows. General ash decline is also a concern. Brittle branches are susceptible to damage from high winds and snow/ice.

Compare this species to: Fraxinus americana


50-120 ft.
The Green ash is primarily dioecious (separate male and female trees). Clusters of apetalous purplish male and female flowers appear on separate trees in April-May after the foliage emerges. Fertilized female flowers give way to drooping clusters of winged samaras (to 2” long) that ripen in fall and may persist on the tree throughout winter.
The Green Ash tree is easily grown in average, medium wet, well-drained soils in full sun. It prefers consistently moist, humusy loams, but established trees demonstrate adaptibility to a wide range of soils and growing conditions. Female trees produce abundant seed crops in some years, and may freely self-seed.
Pyramidal in youth; upright; spreading; irregular crown
Sun, part shade
Seed: Samara
25-30 ft.
Growth Rate:
The leaf of the Green Ash features opposite, odd-pinnate compound leaves, each with 5-9 leaflets. Oval to oblong-lanceolate leaflets (3-4” long) are medium green above and below. The foliage turns yellow in fall, with the quality of the fall color often varying considerably from year to year
play, cpp, park, deciduous, fall color, street tree, birds, playground, butterflies, moths, shade tree, wildlife, children’s garden, pollinator plant

NCCES plant id: 2000

Fraxinus pennsylvanica Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Matt Lavin, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Fall color
Matt Lavin, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Fraxinus pennsylvanica 'Centerpoint' Fraxinus pennsylvanica 'Centerpoint'
J.C. Raulston Arboretum