Himalayan ash

Fraxinus griffithii
habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
habit in fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
main trunk (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of once-compound leaf (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
flowers and flower buds (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
mature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
seedlings (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

A small or medium-sized tree usually growing up to 10 m tall. Its compound leaves have 5-11 leaflets amd are arranged in pairs along the stems. Its tiny white flowers borne in dense branched clusters at the tips of the stems. These flowers have four small petals and two stamens. Its woody fruit have a papery wing (2.5-4 cm long).

Common names 
Also known as: Himalayan ash, evergreen ash, evergreen ash tree, evergreen flowering ash, flowering ash, Formosan ash, Griffith's ash, Philippine ash,
Flowering time 
Summer - Autumn
Native to the Indian Sub-continent (i.e. Bangladesh and India), China, Taiwan and south-eastern Asia (i.e. Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines).
Council declaration 
Class C – Containment and reduction
Known distribution 

This species is sparingly naturalised in south-eastern Queensland and possibly naturalised in the coastal districts of central New South Wales.


A potential weed of riparian vegetation, urban bushland, forest margins, open woodlands, roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas and gardens.


A small or medium-sized tree usually growing less than 10 m tall, but occasionally reaching up to 20 m in height. It does not lose its leaves during winter (i.e. it is evergreen).

Impact and control methods 

"Himalayan ash (Fraxinus griffithii) is commonly cultivated as a street and garden tree, particularly in the warmer parts of eastern Australia. It has only been common in cultivation in recent times, and has become popular as a street tree because of its low-growing habit (i.e. it does not interfere with power lines).

This species is beginning to spread from cultivation and is showing invasive tendencies in the coastal districts of eastern Australia. Large numbers of seedlings are often seen growing under adult trees, and its windblown seeds are germinating in nearby natural habitats. For example, it has become naturalised at Maleny on the Sunshine Coast in south-eastern Queensland, where it is spreading from plantings into nearby rainforest areas.

Himalayan ash (Fraxinus griffithii) is also invading shaded habitats in riparian areas along the Enoggera Creek catchment in northern Brisbane. In addition to this, there are unconfirmed reports that it is naturalised in other parts of south-eastern Queensland (e.g. on the Gold Coast, in Toowoomba and in other parts of Brisbane). Himalayan ash (Fraxinus griffithii) is also listed as an ""alert weed "" in the Sydney North region in central New South Wales."

Stem and leaves 

"The main trunk of older tree is covered in a mottled green and cream bark. Younger branches are finely hairy (i.e. pubescent), but quickly become hairless (i.e. glabrescent).

The paired leaves are once-compound (i.e. pinnate) with 5-11 leaflets. These leaves (10-25 cm long) are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 3-8 cm long and are mostly hairless (i.e. glabrous). The leaflets (2-10 cm long and 1-5 cm wide) are borne on smaller stalks (i.e. petiolules) 5-10 mm long and are egg-shaped in outline (i.e. ovate) or elongated in shape (i.e. lanceolate). They are bright green and glossy, with entire margins and pointed tips (i.e. acuminate apices)."

Flowers and fruits 

"The small flowers are borne in branched clusters (10-25 mm long) at the tips of the stems (i.e. in terminal panicles). These flowers are borne on stalks (i.e. pedicels) 2-4 mm long. They have four tiny sepals (about 1 mm long) and four white petals (about 2 mm long) that are fused together at the base into a very short tube (i.e. corolla tube). They also have two stamens and an ovary topped with a style and stigma. Flowering occurs mainly during summer and early autumn (i.e. from November to March).

The flowers are followed by clusters of small winged fruit (i.e. samaras). These fruit (2.5- 4 cm long and 4-5 mm wide) are initially green, but turn pinkish and then brown in colour as they mature. They contain a single seed and are present mainly during summer and autumn (i.e. from January to May)."

Reproduction and dispersal 

"This species reproduces by seed and will also spread laterally via root suckers.

The winged seeds are mainly dispersed by wind, water and in dumped garden waste."

Similar species 

"Himalayan ash (Fraxinus grifithii) is very similar to desert ash ( Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. angustifolia). These species can be distinguished by the following differences:

■Himalayan ash (Fraxinus grifithii) leaves have relatively broad or elongated leaflets with entire margins. It does not lose its leaves during winter (i.e. it is evergreen) and its leaf buds are usually green or greenish-brown in colour. The small bisexual flowers are quite showy with four white petals. Its winged fruit are relatively small (2.5-3 cm long and 4-5 mm wide).

■desert ash ( Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. angustifolia) leaves have elongated leaflets with toothed (i.e. serrate) margins. It loses its leaves during winter (i.e. is deciduous) and its leaf buds are dark brown in colour. Separate male and bisexual flowers are borne on the same tree, and these small flowers are inconspicuous and without any petals. Its winged fruit are relatively large (3-5 cm long)."