the anatomy of an ash tree leaf

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Now that they are finally here, just what do my tree's leaves look like?


Each leaf is made up of seven smaller leaves. These smaller leaves are oval shaped, tapering to a point at the tip and have little ridges along the outside edges near the top. They are arranged, like everything else on this tree, in pairs opposite from each other. You can see above how two are growing left and right and another pair are growing at the top and bottom. And the next set of leaves in the center is repeating that pattern.


The same pattern is also visible in the shoot below.


There's a pair of stems coming out, then another pair offset 90 degrees and so on. I noticed this exact pattern in the twig of my tree when I first started watching it back in February. I'm now even more convinced that this growing green shoot will be the extension of the twig for this year.

I returned to the What tree is it? website to see if I could identify my ash tree just based on the leaves. I learned some nifty vocabulary along the way. My tree's leaves can be classified as broad and flat (as opposed to having needles or scales), compound (as opposed to a simple, single leaf), and pinnate (which means all the little leaflets are at different spots on the one stem instead of all coming out of the top), with toothed margins (which means that the edges are serrated not smooth). I hadn't even noticed that last one until I got up to that question in the key. I had to look out the window and take a picture!


The fact that the leaflets are all the same size and are arranged in an opposite (symmetrical instead of alternate) pattern finally gets me to Ash trees. Hooray!


But what kind of ash tree is it? (There's green, white, blue, and black.) The following questions in the key involve looking at the size of the leaves as well as some finer structures on them. Since my leaves are not yet fully developed (the largest I can reach is still only 2 1/2" long), I'm going to wait until they are all done growing to continue with the leaf id. To be continued...

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This page contains a single entry by Alison published on May 3, 2011 2:01 PM.

shoot was the previous entry in this blog.

maple leaves is the next entry in this blog.

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