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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Wow! The single leaf ash, just great looking stuff, I’ve got to go collecting!!! Great job with your blog BTW it’s been great keeping up with your site. A question about collecting do you get permits or go with someone that allready has one, that’s if you need one anyway for all I know it could just be permision from a person on the spot? I’ve never been collecting and in Virginia we have a ton of great trees and shrubs that would be great for bonsai?
@Dannon – thanks so much for the note, I appreciate it. I actually don’t know much about the permit process as I’ve never been through it – will likely write about it when/if I do. Although I’ve been on a collecting trip, I have yet to dig and take a tree home myself.
Quick reply! It’s a little late for collecting around where I am but I will be organizeing something for next year for sure, I need to make it out west for some junipers!!! I would like to see more of an effort on the east coast for collecting, this side of the “U,S” needs to catch up to you guys collecting scene out west. 🙂