Afghan Ash
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Afghan Ash
P Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Afghan Ash, Algerian ash
Botanical name: Fraxinus xanthoxyloides    Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)
Synonyms: Ornus xanthoxyloides, Fraxinus moorcroftiana, Fraxinus oxyacanthifolia

Afghan Ash is a shrub or small trees with bark grey, smooth and warty when young, dark and much cracked on older stems; branches stiff. Leaves are opposite, 8-12 cm long, on shrubs sometimes only 2 cm long, midrib winged; leaflets 5-11, up to 4 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, ovate-lanceshaped or ovate-oblong, rounded toothed, hairless or slightly hairy on midrib beneath, stalkless or nearly stalkless. Flowers are borne in dense heads, appearing before or with the young leaves on shoots of the previous year; bracts wooly, brown. Petals are absent, sepal-cup lacking in male flowers, small and persistent in bisexual flowers. Filaments are short, anthers oblong. Samara is spoon-shaped, often notched, 3-4 cm long, in dense fascicles, axis hardly 5 mm long. Afghan Ash is found in dry slopes in valleys, at altitudes of 1000-2800 m, inAfghanistan to Western Himalaya and Tibet. Flowering: April-May.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh.

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