Ash tree

Ash tree

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Varieties and characteristics

The word frassino refers to the genus Fraxinus of the Oleacee family in Italy, which includes about fifty species exclusive to the northern hemisphere. Consequently these varieties are widespread especially in temperate and subtropical regions of both North America and Asia. The ash trees are trees with imposing foliage and among the largest counted of the Oleacee, since they reach even 30-35 meters in height. These dimensions are common for some American species of ash, such as the Fraxinus americana and the Fraxinus pennsylvanica. In Italy there are two species in the spontaneous state, namely the Fraxinus excelsior and the Fraxinus ornus. These two varieties are called major ash and ash ash or ash from the manna respectively.

Aspect of the major ash

The major ash is widespread in Italy in the spontaneous state and is characterized by having a straight trunk, which can even reach a height of 30 meters. It also has a roundish crown and a greenish bark when young and brownish gray, a little wrinkled, if old. This variety of ash it stands out for its deciduous leaves, which are sharpened and toothed with elements (four or six pairs). The flowers appear before the leaves and are united in racemes; they are essentially constituted by the ovary and by two stamens with reddish anthers, given that both the chalice and the corolla are missing. It is indeed an anemophilous species. The fruit is a samara. In the Italian peninsula this ash occupies the northern part, where it forms fresh and wet woods and its spread reaches the lower limit of the subalpine area. It is also cultivated because it supplies valuable wood.

Aspect of the manna ash

The manna ash is widespread in Italy especially in the central-southern areas of the peninsula; in fact, it prefers a drier climate with temperatures of some degrees higher. It is characterized by having smaller dimensions than the major ash and in certain circumstances it can also take on a shrubby appearance. The leaves are opposite and imparipinnate; the elements (five to nine pairs) are toothed and have a light green color on the lower side. The flowers give off a light fragrance and are gathered in terminal panicles; unlike what happens in the ash tree they are equipped both with a glass and a corolla. The fruit, on the other hand, is a more elongated and winged samara. In general, the wood obtained from this species is less valuable as it is less resistant and hard: this is explained by the very characteristics of the plant.

Ash: Use of wood

Ash is known above all for its precious wood, used for centuries for the production of high quality furniture, resistant and with remarkable aesthetics. It is also one of the most appreciated essences for creating long-lasting parquet floors with a glossy surface. It must be borne in mind that the ash also has medicinal benefits that are greatly exploited in herbal medicine. For example, the leaves are used to produce infusions with diuretic properties: in fact they have a good mannitol content. At the same time the ash leaves have analgesic and anti-inflammatory abilities, tone the skin and help fight the effects of fever. In herbal medicine, bark is used instead to prepare herbal teas and other anti-inflammatory preparations that fight free radicals: in fact this part of the plant has a high content of antioxidants.