Field of Science

Ash Wednesday 2010

The kitchen calendar tells me it's Ash Wednesday. To celebrate allow the Phactor to suggest you consider adding flowering ash (Fraxinus ornus) to your plant collection. Generally we tend to think of ash trees as stately, if not somewhat boring, shade trees, or baseball bats, or fodder for emerald ash borers, and certainly not an ornametal tree when in flower. But flowering ash is quite handsome in flower, quite similar in some respects to the slightly better known fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus or C. retusus). Flowering ash is slow growing, but can reach 50 feet or so, and like some other members of the olive family, the flowers are quite fragrant. The only thing preventing me from planting this tree is it's zone 6 hardiness (and we're a hard zone 5 here in central Lincolnland). This species long cultivated in Europe is still relatively unknown in North America, and one can only hope that the emerald ash borer finds this species unappealing.
Link to image source.

3 comments:

Robin said...

Not sure suggesting anything in Fraxinus is a good idea with the very real threat of emerald ash borer. For information on EAB, see .
Robin Usborne
EAB communications manager
Michigan State University

Robin said...

Here's that Website: www.emeraldashborer.info. EAB has said "yes" to anything Fraxinus in research studies.

The Phytophactor said...

>>Not sure suggesting anything in Fraxinus is a good idea <<

Thanks Robin for making a very good point. Any woody tree is a long term investment, and the emerald ash borer is a very probable threat to all species of ash. And given our absymal track record of stopping the spread of invasive species (watch for those Asian carp in the Great Lakes), the ash borer is probably here to stay.