Fraxinus ornus (Flowering Ash, Manna Ash)
Origin: S Europe, SW Asia
Location: Beside native hillside
Fraxinus ornus is a small, round-headed deciduous tree 10-15m in height, with deep green, pinnate leaves and showy panicles of fragrant creamy-white flowers in early summer. It is suitable for drier, calcareous soils, and is frequently grown as an ornamental tree in Europe. It is susceptible to ash dieback, but while this fungus poses a serious threat to other European ash species, F. ornus does not appear to be a natural host of the pathogen. In the past it was cultivated for its sap, and an extract of the sap, mannitol, was used commercially as a sweetener and for producing medicine. Today mannitol can be produced synthetically, and traditional manna production has declined, continuing in just a few rural areas of Sicily.
Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.