05. Weeping Ash

Weeping Ash

Fraxinus excelsior L. ‘Pendula’

The range of Fraxinus excelsior extends through Europe as far as the Caucasus.

  • ‘Pendula’ is a cultivar of a tree that is native to the British Isles. It became available from nurseries in the mid-18th century.
  • All the ‘Pendula’ cultivars are believed to descend from a single tree found in the parish of Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire.
  • The original tree was small so all the taller trees were grafted high up to produce a tall, clear trunk with upper pendulous branches.
  • This tree was a gift to the original Glasgow Botanic Gardens (at Sandyford, near Sauchiehall Street) from nurseryman, Robert Austin.  Having been planted in 1818 it was then moved to its current site in 1841.
  • Ash wood is very strong and flexible.  Tests show ash to have “greater toughness (impact strength) than any other home-grown hardwood.
  • The timber is a white wood that was used historically in the making of tool handles and coach building.
  • The foliage made good fodder for livestock.
  • Ash populations are now threatened by a fungal disease, ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea). This kills young trees very quickly but can take some time to destroy mature trees. In Europe, affected countries have lost 60-90% of their ash trees.
  • The tree does not have an IUCN rating.

Ash trees have very distinctive diagnostic features which help to identify the tree even when leafless. These include, hard black buds, grey smooth bark with some vertical, shallow fissures and twigs that become flattened around the buds.

Kelly, J., (1995) Hillier’s Gardeners Guide to trees and shrubs, David and Charles

Bean, W.J., (1989), Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles (8th edn) John Murray London

Curtis, E.W. (2006) The Story of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens

IUCN red list at www.iucnredlist.org