This tree has the ash habit of unfolding its leaves late in the spring, and "making up for it," as Oliver Goldsmith would say, by losing them early in the fall. From the standpoint of the landscape gardener, this is a double fault. But the cleanly habit of the tree, its graceful head during the summer season, and its valuable lumber, which is counted equal to white ash, commend it to planters. It has been successfully introduced into European gardens, and is hardy in the Arnold Arboretum in Boston.
It is interesting to note that an old tradition recorded by Pliny has arisen, as if spontaneously, among the Indians of the Pacific coast. Nuttall wrote after his visit to this region about the time of the exodus to California in 1849: "An opinion prevails in Oregon among the hunters and Indians that poisonous serpents are unknown in the same tract of country where this Ash grows, and stories are related of a stick of it causing the Rattle Snake to retire with every mark of fear and trepidation, and that it would sooner go into the fire than creep over it." We certainly suspect that the hunters above mentioned, or per haps earlier white men visiting the region, imported the Old World tradition.
The Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus profunda, Bush.) is one of the largest and most beautiful of our ash trees, and leads all the others in the size of its leaves and keys. The velvety pubes cence of its young shoots and leaf linings might confuse it with the red ash, but that its branchlets are stout. The leaves are
io to 18 inches long, with broadly lanceolate leaflets, pointed and wavy margined, leathery, with downy linings and leaf stalks. The keys are a to 3 inches long, with wings that broaden and round at the tips. They are borne in large, pendulous and very profuse clusters.
This tree grows in deep river swamps in southeastern Missouri and eastern Arkansas, and also in western Florida along the Appalachicola River. It will probably be found in swamps intermediate between these two regions, It has only been dis covered and named within the past eight years. Mr. Bush found it first in 1893, and four years later gave it a name, profunda, which probably refers to the almost bottomless bayous in which it often grows. The common name, pumpkin ash, refers to the bulging and ridged or buttressed base of the tree from which the straight trunk rises. This is a character shared by other trees (the tupelos, for instance,) that grow in land subject to inun dation.
The Water, or Swamp Ash (F. Caroliniana, Mill.) grows to 4o feet high in swampy lands skirting the coast from Virginia to middle Florida, and west to the Sabine River in Texas. It follows the deep river swamps of the Mississippi north to Arkansas. It is as well that the white wood of this tree has less value than that of the other ashes, for it grows in inaccessible places. The leaves are small, and the little seeds have exceptionally broad wings.