12 Species of Ash Trees

Members of the Olive Family

Ash (Fraxinus sp.) tree in field, spring
Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images

Ash trees are in the Fraxinus genus within the olive (Oleaceae) family. They are often used as shade, lawn, and street trees. You can spot one by looking for trees with opposite branching (not many trees do this) and compound leaves. They are dioecious and male trees can be chosen if you do not want fruit. The fruits are samaras, which are winged seeds like those of maples and are usually grouped in clusters on the stem.

Ash trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer. A key to control is not moving infested ash firewood around. You may want to choose another kind of tree if emerald ash borer is known to be in your state.

  • 01 of 12

    Black Ash

    Black Ash
    lstreet2010/Flickr/CC

    The wood structure of black ash makes it a great choice for weaving, as it is pliable. This tree can grow well in cold and wet locations. Wildlife will come to visit this tree since birds and animals eat the seeds. Deer and moose also like to chew on the branches and leaves.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus nigra
    • Native to: Eastern Canada and northeastern U.S.
    • USDA Zones: 2 to 6
    • Height: 40 to 60 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 7 to 11
  • 02 of 12

    Blue Ash

    Blue Ash Tree
    Malerapaso/Getty Images

    The name blue ash comes from the fact that the inner bark turns blue in the air and was used to make dye. A distinctive characteristic of this species is its square stems. Choose this ash tree for a location that does not drain well.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus quadrangulata
    • Native Area: Midwestern U.S.
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 7
    • Height: 50 to 70 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 7 to 11
  • 03 of 12

    California Ash

    California ash
    Scott.zona/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The California ash is a small tree that can tolerate some drought. Dipetala means two petals, and another name for this species is two-petaled ash. The bisexual white flowers have a pleasant scent.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus dipetala
    • Native Area: Calfornia, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Baja California
    • USDA Zones: 7 to 9
    • Height: Up to 20 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 3 to 9
  • 04 of 12

    Carolina Ash

    carolina ash
    Homeredwardprice/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The Carolina ash prefers wet soils and is often found in swampy areas. It is indeed native to North and South Carolina, in addition to neighboring states. Other common names include Florida ash, swamp ash, water ash, and pop ash.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus caroliniana
    • Native Area: Southern U.S.
    • USDA Zones: 7 to 9
    • Height: 30 to 40 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 5 to 7
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    European Ash

    European or Common Ash
    Peter O'Connor/Flickr/CC 2.0

    As the name suggests, the European ash can be found throughout Europe. It is also known as the common ash. Look for black buds as a characteristic to distinguish them from other ashes, which usually have brown buds.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus excelsior
    • Native Area: Europe and southwestern Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5 to 8
    • Height: 60 to 80 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 7 to 13
  • 06 of 12

    Green Ash

    Green Ash
    Matt Lavin/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The green ash is one of the most common ashes found in the landscape. It can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions and is especially forgiving of conditions like pollution and salt in urban areas. Other common names include red ash, swamp ash, and water ash.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus pennsylvanica
    • Native Area: Eastern and northern North America
    • USDA Zones: 3 to 9
    • Height: 50 to 60 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 5 to 9
  • 07 of 12

    Gregg's Ash

    Gregg Ash
    Homer Edward Price/Flickr/CC 2.0

    Gregg's ash is a large shrub that can be trained into a small tree. It can be drought tolerant once established and used as a container specimen. These have smaller leaves than other ash tree species. Other common names include littleleaf ash, Mexican ash, and dogleg ash.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus greggii
    • Native Area: Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas
    • USDA Zones: 7 to 10
    • Height: 15 to 20 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 3 to 11
  • 08 of 12

    Manna Ash

    Manna ash
    Horst Sollinger/Getty Images

    Manna ash is named after the food in the Bible because of its sweet sap extract. The sugar alcohol mannitol and sugar mannose can be taken from this sap. Its other common name is flowering ash. This has one of the prettiest flower shows of the ashes, appearing in May.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus ornus
    • Native Area: Southern Europe and southwestern Asia
    • USDA Zones: 6 to 9
    • Height: 40 to 50 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 5 to 9
    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Narrow Leaf Ash

    narrow leaf ash
    Wendy Cutler/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The narrow leaf ash does well in urban settings and in acidic soil. Other common names are desert ash and narrow-leaved ash. The cultivar that you will usually see is known as "Raywood." It has its own common name of claret ash because the leaves shift to a lovely shade of purple in the fall.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus angustifolia
    • Native Area: Southwest Asia, southern and central Europe, and northwest Africa
    • USDA Zones: 5 to 8
    • Height: 50 to 80 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 7 to 13
  • 10 of 12

    Pumpkin Ash

    pumpkin ash
    PROChris M Morris/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The name pumpkin ash comes from the fact that the base of the trunk becomes engorged and can look like a pumpkin especially in wet soils. The other common names are swelled butt ash and red ash.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus profunda
    • Native Area: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 5 to 9
    • Height: 60 to 80 feet tall, sometimes over 100 feet
    • Number of Leaflets: 7 to 9
  • 11 of 12

    Velvet Ash

    velvet ash
    Miwasatoshi/Wikimedia Commons

    The velvet ash is drought tolerant and does well in wet or alkaline soils also. It is one possible choice if you need a tree that grows fast. This tree is also known as the Arizona ash and Modesto ash.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus velutina
    • Native Area: Southwestern North America
    • USDA Zones: 7 to 10
    • Height: 30 to 50 feet tall
    • Number of Leaflets: 3 to 5
  • 12 of 12

    White Ash

    white ash
    Willow/Wikimedia Commons

    White ash is one of the more common ash trees in the United States. This shade tree will put on a good show in the fall. It is a common source for wooden baseball bats. Another name is Biltmore ash.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus americana
    • Native Area: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 3 to 9
    • Height: 50 to 80 feet and can get taller
    • Number of Leaflets: 5 to 9