What is an ash tree?

Fraxinus excelsior, known as the Ash, or European Ash or Common Ash. This species is distinguished from other types of ash, because European Ash is a flowering plant species in the olive family Oleaceae. It is a large deciduous hardwood tree with a tall, narrow crown. Common Ash is native throughout mainland Europe east to the Caucasus and Alborz mountains. Ash timber has fairly good strength properties for its weight, it is hard, tough and very hard-wearing and is also shock resistant.

The colour of the wood ranges from creamy white to light brown, and the heartwood may be a darker olive-brown. Sapwood can be very wide and not always clearly or sharply demarcated from heartwood. Has a medium to coarse texture. The grain is almost always straight and regular, though sometimes curly or figured boards can be found. When stained, ash wood can look very similar to oak (Quercus spp.), although oaks have much wider rays, which are visible on all wood surfaces—even on flatsawn surfaces.

The light colour and attractive grain of ash wood make it popular in modern furniture such as chairs, dining tables, doors, and other architectural features and wood flooring. Because of its high flexibility, shock resistance, and resistance to splitting, ash lumber is the traditional material for bows, tool handles, especially for hammers and axes, tennis rackets, baseball bats. Ash wood is valuable as firewood because it burns well even when ‘green’ (freshly cut).

Produces good results with hand or machine tools. Responds well to steam bending. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

This wood species (Fraxinus excelsior) is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Name(s): Common Ash, European Ash
Scientific Name: Fraxinus excelsior
Tree Size: 20–35 m (65–115 ft) (exceptionally to 43 m or 141 ft) tall with a trunk up to 2 m (6.6 ft) diameter
Average Dried Weight: 710 kg/m3 (44 lbs/ft3)
Janka Hardness: 1,480 lbf (6,580 N)