Autumn Purple White Ash (Fraxinus americana ‘Autumn purple’) is a broad-conical male clone of the White Ash (Fraxinus Americana) that typically grows 45-60’ tall. As the cultivar name suggests, it is particularly noted for its excellent, long-lasting, reddish-purple to deep mahogany-purple fall color. Foliage consists of odd-pinnate compound leaves with 7 leaflets (less frequently 5 or 9). Each oval to oblong leaflet is 2-4” long. The Autumn Purple Ash turns from a glossy deep green into red and finally to a brilliant purple in the fall and holds its fall color longer than almost every other tree. The white coloring of the under (abaxial) leaf blade distinguishes F. america (white abaxial) from F. pennsylvania (green abaxial); moreover F. america have U-shaped leaf scars from last years leaves. Discovered on the University of Wisconsin campus in 1956. The genus name Fraxinus comes from the Latin name for ash trees.
Scientific Name (family and order): Fraxinus americana L. ‘Autumn Purple’ (‘Junginger’) (Oleaceae, Lamiales)
Species Origin: Eastern North America
New Jersey Status: USDA var. not listed
Habit: 70 – 100’ tall x 50’ wide; bole 2-3’. Broadly columnar in shape.
Habitat: Zones 4 – 9; rich-soil woods
Trunk/Stem: Bark gray-brown with narrow interlacing ridges. Older trees have buttressed tree base and massive branches.
Leaves: Deciduous, Pinnately Compound, Opposite. Pinnate 14” long with five to nine ovate to lanceolate, taper-pointed, sparsely-toothed leaflet. Each leaflet 4 ¼” long and 3” across. Blades dark green and smooth above and light blue-green to almost white, smooth or slightly hairy below. The rachis (the central compound leaf petiole extension) is pale yellow.0 Turn yellow or purple in autumn. Winter leaf bud dark brown to nearly black. Autumn colors purple, bronze, gold, yellow
Flowers: Dioecious. Very small without petals. Male and female flowers both very small, green or purple withoug petals borne in clusters on separate plants. Blooms in spring before the leaves emerge.
Fruits and seeds: The fruit is a 2” long, winged samara (they look like one-sided “keys” of a “ canoe paddle”) with seed ripening from green to brown. It is carried in a dense pendulous cluster throughout fall and winter.