Plant Guide > Trees > Ashes and Fringe Tree > Pumpkin Ash Tree

Pumpkin Ash Tree

Pumpkin Ash TreeThe Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus profunda, Bush.) is one of the largest and most beautiful of our ash trees, and leads all the others in the size of its leaves and keys. The velvety pubescence of its young shoots and leaf linings might confuse it with the red ash, but that its branchlets are stout.

The leaves are 10 to 18 inches long, with broadly lanceolate leaflets, pointed and wavy margined, leathery, with downy linings and leaf stalks. The keys are 2 1/2 to 3 inches long, with wings that broaden and round at the tips. They are borne in large, pendulous and very profuse clusters.

This tree grows in deep river swamps in southeastern Missouri and eastern Arkansas, and also in western Florida along the Appalachicola River. It will probably be found in swamps intermediate between these two regions.

It has only been discovered and named within the past eight years. Mr. Bush found it first in 1893, and four years later gave it a name, profunda, which probably refers to the almost bottomless bayous in which it often grows.

The common name, pumpkin ash, refers to the bulging and ridged or buttressed base of the tree from which the straight trunk rises. This is a character shared by other trees (the tupelos, for instance,) that grow in land subject to inundation.