Red Rock Canyon A to Z

V: Velvet Ash

In the wetter seeps and creeks of Red Rock Canyon, you can often spot tall velvet ash trees (Fraxinus velutina) providing shade and cover for plants and animals. Growing up to nearly 40 feet tall, these ash trees often have fine velvet-like hairs on their twigs thus giving the plant its common name. The leaves of the velvet ash tend to be longer than they are wide and grow in leaflet clusters. In spring these trees will grow small yellow flowers ahead of the leaves to avoid accidental pollen interference by the leaves. Pollinated female flowers then turn into winged seeds, ready for a steady breeze to take them away. The valued hard wood of these ash trees allowed Native Americans to create tools, utensils, walking sticks, poles, and other equipment.

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