Tree of the month: Ash

In two days’ time the moon will be new. So according to this version of the Ogham ‘tree calendar’ extended into 2013, we’re about to enter the Month of the Ash. You might choose to follow my ‘ogham’ tag for other posts in this series.

The ancient Celts used their Ogham alphabet for various purposes but they don’t seem to have associated a calendar with it. That use of the Ogham is a 19th century invention! I like this calendar, though. It directs attention to a different species for each lunar month. So today, let’s admire the ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

This month, my Tree of the Month post is unusual because the news is full of ash dieback. This is an emerging disease. In other words, ash trees never used to get it but now it’s killing them. You might choose to follow my ‘ash’ and ‘ash dieback’ tags for other posts about this disease.

Yesterday I told you that new findings about DNA sequences had been published on the ‘crowdsourcing’ website OpenAshDieBack. Today, here’s an explanation.

The new work about ash dieback is being done by a team of scientists, including some from the John Innes Centre (JIC). Here’s the JIC explanation of the work and what it means. They say it far better than I can. They also say that this research is moving fast.

‘A panel of the researchers will run a web chat about the project from 12-1 on Monday 11th March. Questions can be sent via email to or via Twitter using #oadb.’

We can hope that ‘Tree 35’ holds the key to ash dieback resistance. If I were an artist, I’d draw something about ash keys (the tree’s seeds, which have wings to help them to be dispersed by wind) flying in to save our beautiful ash trees.

[Edit] Kay Haw at Woodland Matters tells us more about the ash.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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1 Response to Tree of the month: Ash

  1. Pingback: Paterson pauses on pesticides. Sorry bees, we’ll let you know in a while | Science on the Land

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