Fraxinus ornus, commonly called flowering ash, produces a spectacular display of fragrant creamy white flowers in May. It is native to southern Europe and western Asia. This is a rounded, deciduous tree that grows to 40-50’ tall with a relatively short trunk featuring smooth, gray bark. Perfect, fragrant, creamy white flowers appear in axillary and terminal panicles (to 5” long) in May. Flowers give way to clusters of winged seeds (to 2” long) that ripen in fall and may persist on the tree throughout winter. Odd-pinnate compound leaves (5-8” long) have 5-9 leaflets. Leaflets (2-3” long) are ovate to oblong, toothed and dark green above. Fall color is yellow-burgundy to red-purple. Also commonly called manna ash. This tree is commercially grown for manna which is a sweet, gummy sap taken from the stems. Hardy in zones 6-9.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for three months.
- Fill a pot with potting soil.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container and leave it to drain.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
- The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.