Fraxinus excelsior


In Scandinavian mythology Ash was the 'tree of life' and in the UK it was regarded as a healing tree, but today, Ash is sometimes considered a 'weed'. It is a tall, broad tree that is both tough and fast-growing, and manages to colonise areas easily, taking up space where other trees have died or fallen. However, it is a good forest tree as it lets light reach the floor, allowing other plants to flourish, such as Wild Garlic and Dog's Mercury. It is particularly common in the north and Wales where it likes damp and fertile soils in cooler conditions.

How to identify

Ash can easily be recognised by its compound leaves (made up of seven to twelve leaflets), its large black buds and the bunches of ash 'keys' - winged seeds - that disperse in the autumn.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for all kinds of species. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland animals.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Fraxinus excelsior
Trees and shrubs
Height: 15-30m
Conservation status