Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Biltmore Ash - Fraxinus biltmoreana   Beadle
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Section 6 » Family Oleaceae
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AuthorBeadle
DistributionScattered over the mountains and Piedmont, east to the Fall Line. A specimen record exists for Jones County, if correct, but likely absent in nearly all of the Coastal Plain.

The range is smaller than for White Ash (F. americana), being from NJ, OH, and IL south to central GA and LA. Exact details of the range are not clear, as this taxon is often overlooked by biologists.
AbundanceNot well known, but the NC NHP gives a state rank of S4 (as opposed to S5 for White Ash), and specimens are known from many counties across the mountains and Piedmont. Thus, it is apparently infrequent to fairly common. Certainly, it is much less numerous than is White Ash. Best called essentially absent to very rare in the western Coastal Plain.
HabitatThe habitats are not well distinguished from those of White Ash, but are believed to be very similar. Likely it is most numerous in rich or mesic forests over circumneutral soil. Interestingly, RAB (1968) says “Low woods”, but this is incorrect; it is not a wetland species.
See also Habitat Account for Ash Forests
PhenologyApparently the same as for White Ash – flowering in April and May, and fruiting from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a tree that is very similar to White Ash, and arguably is a variety of it. However, up close, in the hand, you can easily separate these two. Biltmore Ash has very strong pubescence on the leaf petiole and rachis, as well as the twigs. At a distance of maybe 5’ or more, these may not be obvious, but a hand lens is not needed once you have a leaf or twig in your hands. (White Ash is glabrous/smooth on the rachis, petiole, and twigs.) There are a few other separations, such as the petiole bases and leaf scars – check references such as Weakley (2018), and size of the fruit (samaras). Biltmore Ash has larger samaras than does White Ash.
Taxonomic CommentsAs mentioned above, most references list this taxon as a variety of White Ash – F. americana var. biltmoreana. Weakley (2018) and a small minority of others split it out as a good species.

Other Common Name(s)Biltmore White Ash
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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