Fraxinus ornus (Manna ash)
Species: F. ornus
Binomial name: Fraxinus ornus
Common name: Manna ash, Flowering ash, South European flowering ash.
Fraxinus ornusis is a medium-sized, round-headed, deciduous tree. It occurs naturally in southern Europe and its main distribution range is in Italy (mostly in the south and Mediterranean islands), Greece, and in karst regions of the Balkan Peninsula and western Turkey. There are also isolated populations in eastern Spain.
Fraxinus ornus grows 15–25 m tall with a relatively short trunk featuring smooth, gray bark. Mature trees it can have trunk up to 1 m diameter.
The deep green, pinnate leaves are in opposite pairs, 20–30 cm long, with 5-9 leaflets; the leaflets are broad ovoid, 5–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with a finely serrated and wavy margin, and short but distinct petiolules 5–15 mm long; the autumn colour is variable, yellow-burgundy to red-purple.
After the new leaves appear in late spring fragrant creamy-white flowers are produced in dense panicles 10–20 cm long. Each flower with four slender creamy white petals 5–6 mm long develop from hairy buds that are pale pinkish-brown to gray-brown in colour. They are pollinated by insects.
The green fruit is a slender samara (winged seeds) 1.5-2.5 cm long, the seed is 2 mm broad and the wing 4–5 mm broad. The fruit ripens to a brown colour.
This tree is commercially grown in Sicily for manna which is a sweet, gummy sap taken from slits made in the bark. For more information on manna visit: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashmn075.html