Fraxinus argentea Loisel.
Fraxinus cappadocica Juss. ex Bosc
Fraxinus cilicica Lingelsh.
Fraxinus diversifolia Rochel ex Boiss.
Fraxinus excelsior petiolulata (Boiss. & Kotschy) Boiss.
Fraxinus floribunda C.K.Schneid.
Fraxinus florífera Scop.
Fraxinus halepensis Steud.
Fraxinus kotschyi C.K.Schneid.
Fraxinus mannifera (Raf.) Steud.
Fraxinus mille-lacuum K.Koch
Fraxinus montana Salisb.
Fraxinus paniculata Mill.
Fraxinus petiolulata Boiss. & Kotschy
Fraxinus pseudo-ornus Steud.
Fraxinus rotundifolia Lam.
Fraxinus theophrasti Duhamel ex Steud.
Fraxinus thrysantha St.-Lag.
Ornanthes florida Raf.
Ornanthes lutea Raf.
Ornanthes mannifera Raf.
Ornus cappadocica (Juss. ex Bosc) A.Dietr.
Ornus corymbosa Lavallée
Ornus europaea Pers.
Ornus lanceolata Rouy & Foucaud
Ornus nana Lavallée
Ornus ornus (L.) H.Karst.
Common Name: Manna Ash
Fraxinus ornus is a deciduous tree with a very dense, rounded canopy; it can grow up to 9 metres tall. The bole is usually narrow and crooked[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It has been cultivated for its edible manna, is often managed as a coppice crop for fuel, and is also often grown as an ornamental - there are several named varieties[
Fraxinus ornus has a wide distribution and no serious threats have been documented for the species. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2017)[
Contact with the sap has caused skin or systemic allergic reactions in some people[
Southern Europe - France to Spain, east to Romania and Greece; W. Asia - Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and the Caucasus
Mixed woodland, thickets and rocky places[
], mainly on limestone; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Semi-cultivated, Wild
Although the dormant plant is moderately cold-hardy, being able to tolerate temperatures down to around -20°c[
], the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[
Prefers a deep loamy soil, even if it is on the heavy side[
]. Most members of this genus are gross feeders and require a rich soil, but this species thrives on poorer soils[
]. Succeeds in exposed positions[
] and in alkaline soils[
]. Requires a moist soil according to some reports[
] whilst another says that it succeeds in drier soils[
]. Plants are tolerant of atmospheric pollution[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
A very ornamental plant[
], the manna ash is cultivated for its edible manna in Sicily and Calabria[
Average yields of 6 kilos per hectare of top quality manna, plus 80 kilos of assorted manna can be achieved[
The flowers are sweetly scented[
The tree is relatively short-lived, typically surviving for less than 100 years[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Manna - a sweetish exudate is obtained from the stems by incision[
]. A mild sweet taste[
], its main use is as a mild and gentle laxative[
], though it is also used as a sweetener in sugar-free preparations and as an anti-caking agent[
]. The main component of the sap is a sweet substance caled mannitol[
]. The quality of the sap is better from the upper stems.
The tree trunk must be at least 8cm in diameter before the manna can be harvested[
]. A vertical series of oblique incisions are made in the trunk in the summer once the tree is no longer producing many new leaves[
]. One cut is made every day from July to the end of September. A whitish glutinous liquid exudes from this cut, hardens and is then harvested[
]. Dry and warm weather is essential if a good harvest is to be realised[
The tree is harvested for 9 consecutive years, which exhausts the tree. This is then cut down, leaving one shoot to grow back. It takes 4 - 5 years for this shoot to become productive[
The manna obtained from the trunk is a gentle laxative and a tonic[
]. It is especially valuable for children and pregnant women[
]. Its action is normally very mild, though it does sometimes cause flatulence and pain[
The tree is able to colonize open habitats in the wild and grows rapidly when young, so quickly becomes established. It can be used as a pioneer species when restoring native woodland[
Fraxinus species in general are gross feeders with an extensive, fibrous root system, which makes transplanting easy, but means that other species will often not grow well if planted nearby, especially if they are shallow rooted[
The wood, although of good quality, has limited economic potential because the trunks are often narrow and do not grow straight[
The wood is a good fuel and makes an excellent charcoal[
The seed is best harvested green - as soon as it is fully developed but before it has fully dried on the tree - and can then be sown immediately in a cold frame[
]. It usually germinates in the spring[
]. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification and is best sown as soon as possible in a cold frame[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions or a nursery bed in late spring or early summer of the following year.
If you have sufficient seed then it is possible to sow it directly into an outdoor seedbed, preferably in the autumn. Grow the seedlings on in the seedbed for 2 years before transplanting either to their permanent positions or to nursery beds.