Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Red Ash

Each time I make rounds on the lake, I slip by with my typical tree identifications. Oak? White for rounded and red for pointed lobes. Maple? Either sugar or swamp. Catalpa, Locust, Buttonwood, Birch. When it comes to deciduous, I'm done! All the rest fall into identification by negation--it's all "something else".

Well, it's really not fair to the trees when I pay so much attention to the little plants, even though before we know it they'll all have slipped away under winter's blanket. So, here is an effort to give fair due to one of my taller friends.

The samaras of this Ash tree are well developed. One can narrow down the species based on their size and shape. By the slenderness and the fact that the seed takes up nearly half the length of the samara, we're down to either Red or Green. That is, Blue, Black, and White, the remaining local possibilities, are left behind.

The fuzziness of the petioles and undersides of the leaves eliminates the Green. So here we are with the Red Ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica.

Everything I needed for this ID was made possible with The Tree Identification Book by George W.D. Symonds. It's an awesome book!

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