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Fraxinus ornus


Fraxinus ornus, the manna ash<ref name=BSBI07>Template:Cite web</ref> or South European flowering ash, is a species of Fraxinus native to southern Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain and Italy north to Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, and east through the Balkans, Turkey, and western Syria to Lebanon and Armenia.<ref name=rushforth>Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins Template:ISBN.</ref><ref name=fe>Flora Europaea: Fraxinus ornus</ref><ref name=mc>Med-Checklist: Fraxinus ornus</ref>


Fraxinus ornus is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to Template:Convert tall with a trunk up to 1 m diameter. The bark is dark grey, remaining smooth even on old trees.

The buds are pale pinkish-brown to grey-brown, with a dense covering of short grey hairs.

The leaves are in opposite pairs, pinnate, Template:Convert long, with 5 to 9 leaflets; the leaflets are broad ovoid, Template:Convert long and Template:Convert broad, with a finely serrated and wavy margin, and short but distinct petiolules Template:Convert long; the autumn colour is variable, yellow to purplish.

The flowers are produced in dense panicles Template:Convert long after the new leaves appear in late spring, each flower with four slender creamy white petals Template:Convert long; they are pollinated by insects.

The fruit is a slender samara Template:Convert long, the seed Template:Convert broad and the wing Template:Convert broad, green ripening brown.<ref name=rushforth/><ref name=afm>Mitchell, A. F. (1974). A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins Template:ISBN</ref><ref name=afm1>Mitchell, A. F. (1982). The Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins Template:ISBN</ref>

Cultivation and uses

Fraxinus ornus is frequently grown as an ornamental tree in Europe north of its native range for its decorative flowers—the species is also sometimes called "flowering ash". Some cultivated specimens are grafted on rootstocks of Fraxinus excelsior, with an often very conspicuous change in the bark at the graft line to the fissured bark of the rootstock species.<ref name=afm/>

A sugary extract from the sap may be obtained by making a cut in the bark;<ref name=rushforth/> this was compared in late medieval times (attested by around 1400 AD<ref name=oed>Oxford English Dictionary</ref>) with the biblical manna, giving rise to the English name of the tree, and some of the vernacular names from its native area (fresno del maná in Spanish, frassino da manna in Italian). In fact, the sugar mannose and the sugar alcohol mannitol both derive their names from the extract.



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