Fraxinus excelsior

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOleaceaeFraxinusFraxinus excelsior


A deciduous tree of woodland, scrub and hedgerows, especially on moist, basic soils, but also frequent on rock scars and cliffs, stabilised scree and the grikes of limestone pavement. It can tolerate periodically waterlogged soils, being found around springs and in Alnus and Salix carr. In managed woodland it may be grown as a timber tree or coppice. It is a rapid coloniser of waste ground, disused quarries and railway banks. 0-585 m (Cwm Idwal, Caerns.).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland

Light (Ellenberg): 5

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1069

Life form information

Height (cm): 2500

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Mega-, meso- and microphanerophyte



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2459

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 930

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 10

Atlas Change Index: -0.73

Weighted Changed Factor: -12

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (205d)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Rackham O
1980.  Ancient woodland: its history, vegetation and uses in England.
Wardle P
1961.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 79. Fraxinus excelsior L. Journal of Ecology. 49:739-751.