green ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Giant female in bottomland
Male tree on causeway
Bark of bottomland tree
Bark of causeway tree
Female ash-leaved maple (left) and male green ash (right)
Sapling at U7.5
Foliage of bottomland tree
Foliage of male near boat launch
Twig and leaf on causeway tree
Flower buds of male on causeway
Flower buds of male near boat launch
New leaves and male flower buds
Anthers of male flowers
Samaras on female tree

Green ash is native to central and eastern North America.  In nature, it favors moist bottomland and river banks. At Salter Grove, there is a giant female tree at the bottom of the westward sloping lawn area north of the parking lot.  The large crop of samaras produced each year represents important food for birds and squirrels. 

Not all seeds are consumed by animals as evidenced by the presence of smaller individuals throughout the park in rather different environments.  The green ash at the start of the Marsh Trail, and at the junction of the causeway and breakwater look stunted and have leathery leaves because they are exposed to rather harsh conditions.  Saplings growing in more protected environments along the Upland Trail, and at the head of the Pond and Audubon Trails have soft green leaves like the parent.

Its straight trunk, and ability to grow in different environments, even harsh ones, made it a very popular street tree for cities in the U.S. and Europe.  American elms that were decimated by the Dutch Elm Disease in the 1950's-60's were quickly replaced by green ash.  Unfortunately, the wide scale use of green ash cultivars that are susceptible to the Asian emerald ash borer means that history is about to repeat itself.  Whereas Asian ashes show resistance to this accidentally introduced beetle, the green ash does not.