Species list


Fraxinus angustifolia

Narrow-leafed ash

Narrow-leafed ash (Eng), fresno, fresno de hoja estrecha, fresno de la tierra (Spa), freixe de fulla petita (Cat), lizar hostotxikia (Baq), freixo, freixo de folla pequena (Glg), freixo, freixo-de-folhas-estreitas (Por).


“Thence attacked Hector, brandishing sharp sword. He launched it at Achilles, wielding his bronze-shod spear of ash. Achilles felled Hector.”

‘The Iliad’, Homer


Pleasant-looking tree which can be up to 25 m tall. Its grey bark cracks with age and it sometimes has a very thick trunk, a characteristic encouraged by periodic pruning of the branches. The leaves are deciduous, opposite (although occasionally some are alternate), and compound, with usually 7-11 leaflets. These are lanceolate, usually 10-30 mm wide and serrated, but with widely spaced teeth. The buds are brown or pale brown, unlike those of Fraxinus excelsior L., with which it can be confused. The flowers develop before the leaves have formed, are greenish, have no petals, and are therefore inconspicuous, even though they grow in small hanging groups. The fruits also form in groups; they are flattened, oval and very elongated. Each seed is almost entirely surrounded by a wing that facilitates its dispersion by the wind (samaras). Flora Iberica differentiates two general types:

Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl subsp. angustifolia. The leaflets are hairless on the underside of the stalks and central vein.

Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl subsp. oxycarpa (M. Bieb. ex Willd.). The leaflets are hairy on the underside of the stalks and central vein.


This ash forms copses or appears together with other formations, always associated with the groundwater on which it depends. For this reason it occurs near fountains and springs, watercourses and bodies of water, where it usually forms an outer fringe around willows, alders and poplars. As the saying in Spanish goes, “ash, alder and willow are able, to keep light banks stable”. It is indifferent to soil type, but does best in sandy, loose, well developed, acidic substrates. It grows from sea level up to 1600 m.


This tree lives in the western Mediterranean region. On the Iberian Peninsula it is common in every province, but in the north it is either replaced by or lives together with Fraxinus excelsior L.