Ash, European ash, common ash (Eng), fresno, fresno de hoja ancha, fresno común (Spa), freixe de fulla gran (Cat), lizar arrunta (Baq), freixo común (Glg), freixo-europeo (Por).
“... and Diego Alatriste slashing and hacking amongst the long staves of ash.”
‘Captain Alatriste. The Sun over Breda’, Arturo Pérez Reverte
This is the most robust and largest of the three native ash species. It is a large tree, up to 40 m in height, which is characterised by its dark brown, almost black buds. There are, however, individuals with intermediate characteristics which make it difficult to separate the species. The leaves are deciduous, opposite, and compound, comprising 7-13 leaflets (pinna), which are usually 15-45 mm wide, arranged in pairs with a terminal leaflet (odd-pinnate). Their margins are uniformly serrated and they lack hairs on both sides. The seed, which is elongated, has a wing that helps its dispersal by wind. This type of fruit is known as a samara.
This species is associated with humid deciduous forests occupying valleys and mountainsides, although it is less riparian than Fraxinus angustifolia. It is indifferent to soil type and grows from sea level up to altitudes of around 1200 m.
It is found across much of Europe and Asia, becoming scarcer towards the south. On the Iberian Peninsula it lives in the north and at lower latitudes takes refuge in the mountains and cool, humid areas.