Manna ash, South European flowering ash (Eng), fresno de flor, orno (Spa), freixe de flor (Cat), lizar loredum (Baq), freixo-de-folhas-redondas (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? A sweet, purgative substance can be extracted from this ash by making an incision in the trunk, and it also secretes a sugar when the immature seeds are attacked by insects.
A large, wide-crowned tree that can reach 20 m in height, with greyish, smooth bark. The leaves, as in all ash trees, are compund, with an odd number of leaflets or pinna, usually 7 or 9 . They are oval, with a finely serrated margin, and are somewhat wider than in the other two ash trees. The flowers appear late, usually once the leaves have formed. In addition, they are borne in large, very showy and fragrant groups, unlike the other two ash species, which has earned it the name 'flowering ash'. The fruit is a samara, i.e., the seed, which is elongated, has a wing that helps it to be dispersed by the wind.
This species of ash grows along watercourses, rivers, ravines and in cool places on mid-altitude mountains with a Mediterranean climate. It sometimes forms small stands or copses, and even grows in the middle of holm oak and Portuguese oak woodlands at altitudes of up to 1000 m.
The manna ash ranges across southern Europe, becoming more abundant towards the east. It is also found in western Asia. On the Iberian Peninsula it occurs naturally in the Mediterranean provinces in the east, particularly Valencia and Murcia, although it does reach the province of Cuenca. It has been planted as an ornamental and has become established in the wild in other areas.