The distinctive features of the ash tree are light-grey bark and unusual foliage. It has leaves, which are divided into several pairs of pinnate leaflets with sharply-toothed margins. Ash wood is one of the most highly valued kinds of wood as it surpasses others in elastic properties, despite it is very tough, stiff and strong, pliable after seasoning. When compared to oak, it has several advantages like that of faster maturity.
In the times when synthetic materials were not yet available ash wood was extensively used for construction purposes and was indispensable when making carriages, coaches and wagons. Ash also provides excellent firewood, that doesn't produce excessive smoke and its ashes are a valuable source of potash. Another valuable attribute of ash tree is its bark, which is collected from both the trunk and the root. It is a very effort-consuming task, but the product turns out to be well worth it, as the bark is a valuable source of the bitter glucoside Fraxin, the bitter substance Fraxetin, tannin, quercetin, mannite, a little volatile oil, gum and malic acid.
In Norse mythology there was a popular belief that the first man was created form the Ash tree, while to make the first woman alder was used. Many echoes of ancient beliefs involve ash trees. Ash leaves were said to have the property of repelling snakes and in Irish folklore there was a belief that shadows from the ash tree growing nearby could produce severe damage to the crop. In other cultures it was referred to as a remedy to many illnesses, it was claimed to be effective against warts and rickets, and was called wound herb. Besides, this tree has always been referred to in a very favorable tone as it provided shade for thousands of people suffering from heat and gracefully allowed children to have fun on the swings attached to its mighty branches.
The ash wood can be used for a considerable number of purposes and is relatively easily replenished, as it is a rather fast growing tree when compared to other hard-wood species. Unfortunately, ash trees are an attractive residence for many insects, which can cause severe damage to the tree. Among the most dangerous are the following pests: ash sawfly, ahs borer and oystershell scale.
The fascination of the Ash tree traces its roots to the ancient times. The druids believed that ash had the ability to direct and blend the masculine and feminine energy. In folklore ash was referred to as a home for fairies.
Numerous ash tree usages for medicinal purposes are known. The bark, being very astringent can act as anti-periodic, as a decoction it can cure fever and ague. Ash is also a recognized remedy for flatulence. Besides, ash treatment can considerably alleviate rheumatism of an arthritic nature, help restore order to the liver and spleen. Ash leaves are acclaimed for their laxative property and are extensively used in herbal medicine for dropsy and obesity, it is also considered to be able to cure jaundice and dissolve stones. Recently ash fruit have acquired a new type of usage - for culinary purposes.