While hiking around Moab looking for Utah junipers, Konnor and I came across a number of neat deciduous trees I was not familiar with. My favorite was the singleleaf ash, Fraxinus anomala. The species, a member of the olive family, is an anomoly among ash because it has a single rather than a compound leaf.
Singleleaf ash foliage
Interestingly, the singleleaf ash takes on the same growth habit as the junipers they grow near – a somewhat rare and compelling trait among deciduous trees. Their deadwood was very hard. And as you can see from the photos, they do surprisingly well in dry sandstone. The tree below was growing near the edge of a ridge about 50′ above a large basin.
Another nice characteristic of the singleleaf ash we saw is that most were bonsai-sized. I’ve never seen them grown as bonsai and will be curious to find out if collected trees do well in contianers. If so, they could make a nice addition to the very small number of quality collected deciduous bonsai that are native to the U.S.
Many of the ash we saw crept along the ground, their roots buried deep within the rock.
Growing along the ground
A very small lifeline keeps this tree’s few branches alive
Although the trunk below expresses adversity, the foliage reveals the tree’s vigor.
A healthy singleleaf ash
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