The Ash Tree

Fraxinus excelsior L.

The folk names are jasień, or jesień (the autumn). The tree is a genus of plants in the olive family. It is one of the tallest trees found in Poland, reaches a height up to 40 meters. The plant has a conical treetop, its bark is smooth and  light grey in colour. The leaves are feathery, lanceolate, of greenish grey colours. Ash tree blooms before coming into leaf. The tree is known for its endurance, the wood is hard, resilient and durable. Due to these feature the wood  is commonly used in carpentry. Ash wood was used for manufacturing furniture, tools and different kinds of equipment. It was also used for decorating houses. The leaves found their usage in dyeing industry. During Easter celebrations the leaves were used to dye pisanki (‘painted eggs’ that are an element of the Easter tradition in Poland). The trees were worshiped and considered holy. The presence of the ash tree was supposed to bring prosperity and protect from evil and misfortune. They were planted around the churches and orthodox churches. They are also a characteristic element of a rural landscape in Poland, surrounding  the roadside crosses, and saints figures. The  shrines were hung on them. Owing to the height, they naturally attracted lightning, therefore were planted in some distance from the farmhouses, and were used as a natural and obvious lighting conductor.