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(ash), a genus of plants of the family Oleaceae. The plants are trees or sometimes shrubs. The leaves are usually odd-pinnate and opposite. The buds are primarily black or brown. The flowers are small and arranged in terminal or lateral panicles or racemes. The fruit is a samara.
There are more than 60 species, distributed in Eurasia, North America, and North Africa. The USSR has 11 species, growing in the European section, the Caucasus, Middle Asia, and the Far East. The European ash (F. excelsior), a tree measuring up to 40 m in height and having a broad, spreading crown, grows in Europe and in the mountains of Western Asia, primarily in mixed and broad-leaved forests. Its solid, resilient, attractively grained wood is used in machine building, railroad-car and airplane construction, and carpentry.
F. mandshurica, a tall tree with light gray bark and a latticelike, elongated-oval crown, is an important forest species in the Soviet Far East and in China, Korea, and Japan. The European flowering ash (F. ornus), whose white flowers are in dense panicled inflorescences, is a park plant. A sweet sap known as manna seeps from grooves in the bark and hardens upon contact with the air (seeMANNA). F. chinensis, which grows in East and Southeast Asia, is used to raise the fly Ericerus pela, which produces white Chinese beeswax for use in the candle, textile, and perfume industries. In the USSR, many species of ash are raised for afforestation or as ornamentals.
REFERENCEDerev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
V. N. GLADKOVA