Latin name: Fraxinus excelsior
The common ash is Ireland’s most common, tallest native tree. It is a deciduous tree and after it has been cut down, it is able to re-sprout and start growing again.
The tallest ash in Ireland measures forty metres in height, and is happily growing in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
The flat, broad leaves grow opposite each other in pairs on a long stem, and have an oval shape that narrows into a point at the end.
The seeds of the common ash tree look like a great big bunch of keys, so as you could guess, they are commonly known as ‘keys’! These seeds provide food for lots of wildlife such as birds, mice and squirrels.
During the summer, look out for the dark purple coloured flowers of the ash tree, and the distinctive black buds that appear in the winter.
Did you know that ash trees support about forty-one different insect species in Ireland?
What is Ash wood used for?
The wood of the ash tree is used in Ireland to produce furniture, walking sticks and many sports equipment. This is because it is a strong wood, flexible and does not break very easily.
One of Ireland’s most popular national sports uses ash to make the equipment. Can you guess what it is? Hurling! Did you know that one and a half acres of Ash trees can produce about 3,800 hurleys? Ash is also used to make snooker cues, oars, and hockey sticks.
Can you think of any other sports equipment that might be made from ash wood?
Like many other trees, the ash was sacred to our ancestors, the Celts. They believed that the ash tree and the rowan tree held powers of protection.