Mountain ash immigrated early after last ice age, 12000 years ago and grows in all of Sweden, in the mountains up to timber line.The leaves are pinnate; it blossoms in May with white, small flowers that ripens to red berries in August. Young trees have silver gray bark that darkens and get coarser with age.Mountain ash wants light but have no special requirements on soil. It has a deep and wide root system which makes it storm-proof and hardy.Trees not disturbed by browsing animals can grow to straight and 15 meters tall, up to 100 years old. Young mountain ashes are often severely browsed by hare, deer and moose and grow as shrubs with a number of smaller trunks.The berries with seeds are readily eaten and spread by birds. Mountain ashes growing on roofs, cliffs or in other trees are called flygrönn, “flying mountain ash”.
The wood is light yellowish red with dark heartwood. It is tough and resilient and used for tool handles, rake pegs, hoops, wheel spokes and more. It is hard to split but otherwise easy to work.The red color is popular among craftsmen who today uses the wood for boxes, small cabinets etc.
Did you know that:
- Skis made from mountain ash were considered the best.
- The berries are used for jelly. They also give sorbitol, used as sugar substitute. In popular medicine they were used against gout and as a diuretic drug.
- The bark was used for dyeing.
- A piece of the wood built in in boats or implements gave protection against evil powers.
- You never cut yourself If your ax handle is made from flygrönn .