ash (Fraxinus species)

Ash is the “A” in MADCAPHORSE (the memory clue for opposite-leaved woody plants). Ash twigs are moderately thick (about like a pencil), with a true terminal bud. The one shown below is our most common species, green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica.


Green ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica) terminal bud

In side view, the leaf scars are remote from one another. (Compare this to maple, where the leaf scars are V-shaped and nearly touch one another across the twig.


Green ash (Fraxinus-pensylvanica) lateral buds

Ash is one of those genera where winter characteristics are useful year-round. To distinguish the common upland forest tree white ash (Fraxinus americana) from the very similar low(er)-land species green ash (F. pensylvanica), note how the leaf scars of white ash wrap partly up and around the bud, whereas the leaf scar of green ash has a horizontal top edge, with the bud perched above it.


White ash (left) and green ash (right) lateral buds

Another twiggily (twiggily?) distinct ash is blue ash, the scientific name of which is very appropriately Fraxinus quadrangulata, meaning “4-angled.” It’s also called “winged ash.”


Blue, or “winged” ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata) twigs are winged