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White Ash Flowering

5-29-17 white ash male flowers 021

In 1935 Walter Rogers wrote a book on tree flowers (Tree Flowers of Forest, Park and Street) in which he described White Ash (Fraxinus americana) in the following words. “The Ashes are important trees with interesting features of form and foliage, but their flowers are among the least interesting.” I am of a different opinion, at least regarding White Ash’s male, or staminate, flowers.

White Ash is dioecius – individual trees have all male or all female flowers. Just before and as the tree is leafing out, the flower buds, located on the shoots of the previous season, begin to open. Male flowers are more noticeable than female flowers, partly because of the size of their clusters — there are between 200 and 300 flowers in each cluster – and their vibrant color (which resembles the fall color of some White Ash leaves). Being wind-pollinated, White Ash’s flowers lack petals as they would impede pollination. The stamens are a purplish-red, raspberry-like color until they mature, at which time the pollen’s yellow color is predominant.  The flowers are soon hidden by emerging leaves, so now is the time to see if you agree with Mr. Rogers!

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10 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    That’s a very interesting and slightly strange way of growing flowers. Reminds me of Red Bud.

    May 29, 2017 at 8:19 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    I love to learn more…..looked up White Ash…if you scroll down to ‘Emerald Ash Borer’ there are some horrifying figures about the amount of trees killed by certain insects 😮☹️

    May 29, 2017 at 8:28 am

  3. All the trees here in southern Ontario, Canada have been hit by the ash borer. There are areas in which all you hear is the chain saw, it’s so sad. I love the ash flowers and their keys, they are beautiful.

    May 29, 2017 at 9:12 am

  4. What a beautiful flower! I have to tell you Mary, I was slightly befuddled as I looked at the tip of the branch. At first , it resembled an animal’s foot! Hopefully, we will be able to find a way to conserve the white ash and its interesting flower!

    May 29, 2017 at 1:55 pm

  5. Love this shot – looks a bit like a lady with a boa. 🙂

    May 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm

  6. Kathie Fiveash

    The degree of detail you capture in this picture is amazing. SOmetimes looking at your photos is like having new eyes.

    May 29, 2017 at 8:46 pm


    Hi Elizabeth,

    Definitely not this tree. It has no pe5tals but has bunches of 200 teeny flowers together.

    I’m convinced that it’s the Redbud tree, a common bright pink early spring ornamental. I tried

    to forward you a photo but couldn’t . I’ll try again. It’s flowers grow right off the branches.



    May 29, 2017 at 9:10 pm

  8. jini foster

    someone, please tell me what the blue scat is??? thanks

    May 30, 2017 at 7:03 am

    • Wish I could…the jury remains out, but hopefully someone who knows will respond to your comment!

      May 30, 2017 at 9:09 am

  9. How tantalizing to see that distinctive magenta blush of the white ash’s autumn leaves also in its flowers. Thanks for showing us that it reveals its true colors, spring through fall!

    May 30, 2017 at 4:10 pm

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