- Plant IDs
- ID By Type
- Deciduous Trees
- Fraxinus griffithii
Common name: Griffith’s ash
Griffith’s ash (Fraxinus griffithii) is a small, slender, evergreen tree native to southeast Asia. It has pannicles of slightly fragrant white flowers in spring and attractive pinnately compound leaves. In cooler climates, this ash is deciduous.
It is uncommon to find Griffith’s ash in a botanical garden or arboretum. We are lucky to have one in our Sino-Himalayan Garden. It was planted in 1981 and according to our curator, Roy Forster ordered it from Hillier Nurseries in the UK. This is a nursery that specializes in selling mature trees. Our one Wilson’s poplar (Populus wilsonii) arrived with that order as well - another tree rarely seen in botanical gardens.
In southeast Asia, Griffith’s ash grows under every possible condition - in open rainforests, on old lava flows, in hot dry sunny areas, and shady areas too. It’s a pioneer tree and is flourishing - unlike our native ashes in North America. They are critically endangered thanks to the emerald ash borer.
This invasive pest is from China but does not harm its native ashes. They have gradually evolved a resistance to this insect over time. The seeds from these borer-resistant ashes are being collected in China to plant in North America or hybridize with one of the North American ash species, hopefully passing on its resistant gene. We don’t want our native ashes to disappear and go the route of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) and butternut (Juglans cinerea). These magnificent trees have vanished from the landscape.
More information on Griffith’s ash
The late summer and winter pictures of Griffith’s ash were taken in bed 123. The flowering tree and leaf pictures are from Diaco’s Garden Nursery.