What is this tree? I was told it's an ash tree. I would like to know if it is.

The underside of the leaves are lighter than the top, indicative of white ash?

There are little white nodes on the trunk, not sure of the real term, and the buds are brown.

tree right side up

trunk right side up



  • Any chance of photo of the whole tree - its not looking like any Fraxinus to me at the moment...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 19:45
  • added extra photo.
    – JonathanC
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 19:53
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    Giveaway for Fraxinus excelsior is to look at the dormant buds - they are black. I would expect rather a lot more leaflets on ash grown naturally, but given it is bonsai I have no I idea what that would to do to them. Bark could be ash. Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 8:16
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    It could be an ash, Small plants have different forms (so I expect it also on bonsai). For me the good parameters to check an ash are the young branches and the buds. Your photos don't cover them well, but from the bud in second last photo, it could be an F, excelsior, but little to bright, so maybe it is an other ash. Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 8:17
  • Looks like an ash to me couldn't think of what else it could be. Looks like it needs a bit of some sort of fertilizer, soon. I know nada about bonsai except to be successful one HAS to take a class from a master. Bonsai is the penultimate skill of a gardener. To be in a class to actually see and feel what the master is trying to teach...I would not attempt Bonsai without signing up for a class. It is heart breaking to have a Bonsai die...so old, so much work. If you are trained for Bonsai, you have a super subject!
    – stormy
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


I usually identify ash trees in the forest first by the bark, then by checking for the oppositely arranged compound leaf and the friendly leaflet shape they usually have. Since this is a bonsai, it of course isn't going to show the same mature furrowed bark a forest ash would. That being said, that definitely looks like an ash leaf to me. In the one photo with your finger in it, I'm pretty sure I see oppositely arranged leaves. Another good case for ash. Also, the fact that they said it was an ash gives a good case for ash. =]

It seems that the most common ash used for bonsai is Fraxinus excelsior. That specie is native to Europe. I'm only familiar with ash species in the U.S. Not that you couldn't have a European ash somewhere else! Looks like Fraxinus excelsior has pale undersides to the leaflets as does white ash. So it could also be white ash, which from a quick google search does seem to exist. Probably the determining factor now would be your location and the origin of the bonsai.

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    Yup, here's another pic of a F. excelsior: s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/17/c5/ca/…
    – Brenn
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 16:37
  • Hey Brenn, what do you know about Bonsai and fertilizer? This would be a very special forum as is watering and pruning. Is this a healthy color for your Ash?
    – stormy
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 18:46
  • thats a good looking tree.
    – JonathanC
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 16:13

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