Carolina ash
Fraxinus caroliniana Mill.
  • LEAVES: deciduous, opposite, odd-pinnately compound with (3-) 5 to 7 (-9) leaflets; leaves 6-12” long, leaflets to 4” long by 2” wide, elliptical to lance-ovate, pale below; margins entire or less-frequently serrate
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants dioecious; inconspicuous and unremarkable
  • FRUIT: samara, typically elliptical to spatulate or even ovate in outline (highly variable), the wing extending well below the narrow seed-bearing portion; wings two and flat, or sometimes three; samaras to 1.5-2.0” long and broader ones to nearly 1” wide; maturing in fall
  • TWIGS: slender, glabrous, green to brown, leaf scars shield-shaped
  • BARK: light gray, thin, irregular scaly ridges develop with age
  • FORM: small tree, up to 50’ tall, usually with multiple stems, often of shrub-like stature
  • HABITAT: baygalls, depressions and swamps embedded in flatwoods on old land surfaces, small stream floodplains; also typical in large-scale coastal cypress-tupelo swamps
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Wetland (OBL): Almost always occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains from Virginia to east Texas and north to southern Arkansas [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: wood not commercially important; possible value as an ornamental
  • WILDLIFE: genus Fraxinus is an important whitetail deer browse; seeds eaten by waterfowl
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. shrub to small tree, often with multiple trunks, of very wet sites; more frequent on wetlands of old land surfaces
    2. samara broad, the wing completely surrounding the long narrow seed-bearing portion; sometimes three-winged