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A tree 60 to 80 ft, occasionally 90 ft high; young shoots and leaves perfectly glabrous. Leaves 6 to 10 in. long; leaflets seven to thirteen, lanceolate, glabrous, 1 to 3 in. long, 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. wide, sharply and rather coarsely or even jaggedly toothed except towards the narrowly tapered base, apex long-pointed. The terminal leaflet is the only one that has a stalk (1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long); main-stalk with two wings on the upper side forming a groove that is open from the base to the lowest pair of leaflets, but beyond them closed, except where the leaflets are attached. Flowers produced from the joints of the previous year’s wood, and with neither calyx nor corolla. Fruits 1 to 11⁄4 in. long.
Native of the W. Mediterranean region and N. Africa. It is an elegant tree, allied botanically to the common ash but distinguished by its more furrowed bark, brown buds, and quite glabrous leaflets.
specimens: Kew, at head of Lake, 77 × 7 ft below graft (1977) and, pl. 1932, 58 × 61⁄4 ft (1984), pl. 1893, 70 × 6 ft (1984) (var. lentiscifolia); Chiswick House, London, 95 × 101⁄4 ft (1973) (75 × 71⁄2 ft in 1903); Battersea Park, London, near Rose Garden, 72 × 83⁄4 ft (1983) and three others of good size; Victoria Park, Hackney, London, 70 × 81⁄2 ft and 75 × 83⁄4 ft at 3 ft (1979); Knepp Castle, Sussex, 72 × 83⁄4 ft above graft union, 61⁄2 ft below it (1981); Melbury, Dorset, in Valley, 100 × 7 ft (1980); National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Eire, 75 × 6 ft (1974).
F. oxycarpa – As remarked in later impressions of Volume II the explanation for the alternative names ‘Raywood’ and ‘Wollastonii’ is simply that this cultivar originated in the Raywood Gardens at Bridgewater near Adelaide, which were the creation of T. C. Wollaston.
Specimens known to belong to the clone ‘Raywood’ are: Kew, pl. 1928, 60 × 31⁄2 ft (1971); Knap Hill Nursery, Surrey, 65 × 61⁄4 ft (1983). The tree of ‘Raywood’ at Talbot Manor, Norfolk, was blown down in 1977. Other specimens referable to F. oxycarpa are: Alexandra Park, Hastings, Sussex, 58 × 41⁄4 ft (1983); National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Eire, 60 × 53⁄4 ft (1974).
The problem of Philip Miller’s F. rotundifolia was mentioned on page 226. The reason for giving space to this obscure name is that it has long priority over both F. angustifolia and F. oxycarpa. It thus has a bearing on the nomenclature of one or the other of these species, or of both if F. oxycarpa is treated as a subspecies of the former, as it is in Flora Europaea (and also on the nomenclature of F. syriaca, which is made a subspecies of F. angustifolia in Flora of Turkey).
This matter is discussed by Peter Green in Kew Bulletin, Vol. 40(1), pp. 131-14 (1985). He concludes that F. rotundifolia Mill. and F. parvifolia Lam., described later, represent the same species and that this is in turn the species that Vahl still later named F. angustifolia. Reluctantly, he has taken up the name F. rotundifolia for this species, pointing out that Miller’s definition is not too imprecise for it to be employed. He accordingly makes the following combinations under F. rotundifolia Mill.:
subsp. rotundifolia F. angustifolia Vahl.
subsp. oxycarpa (M. Bieb. ex Willd.) P. S. Green F. oxycarpa M. Bieb. ex Willd.; F. angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa (M. Bieb. ex Willd.) Franco & Rocha Alfonso.
subsp. syriaca (Boiss.) Yaltirik ex P. S. Green; F. syriaca Boiss.; F. angustifolia
subsp. syriaca (Boiss.) Yaltirik.
In a postscript to his article, Mr Green expresses the hope that in the interests of nomenclatural stability the next International Botanical Congress will incorporate into the Code of Nomenclature the expedient of nomina specifica rejicienda. An ‘inappropriate and obscure name’ such as F. rotundifolia Mill. could then be proposed for rejection and the established name F. angustifolia stand. In the expectation that such a measure may be adopted, the name F. rotundifolia is not taken up in this supplement.
F. angustifolia (rotundifolia) is a variable species in the height it attains in the wild, in the size of the leaflets, as well as in their number and their spacing on the rachis. In southern Italy, whence came Miller’s F. rotundifolia, it is said to be normally a bushy-crowned tree to about 40 ft high, but occasionally taller. It is also reported to attain its best development in Algeria. The older trees cultivated in Britain are mostly grafted and may represent a single clone; they certainly cannot be taken to represent the species as a whole, which will be better understood if and when it is brought into cultivation from various parts of its range and given a more thorough taxonomic treatment than any now available. It should be added that H. Scheller, in the paper cited in the introductory note, points out that the character often used to separate F. oxycarpa from F. angustifolia, namely, the presence of hairs on the midribs of the leaflets beneath, is unreliable, and submerges the former in F. angustifolia without according it subspecific or varietal rank. In the older literature use was made of the shape of the samaras to distinguish these two ashes, but this character is wholly without value and long ago discarded.
F. angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa (Willd.) Franco & Rocha Alfonso
F. excelsior subsp. oxycarpa (Willd.) Wesm.
F. oxyphylla Bieb