A tree 40 to 60 ft high, with a trunk 3 to 4 ft in girth; terminal winter buds very large, covered with brown down; young shoots glabrous. Leaves pinnate, 10 to 13 in. long, consisting of seven or nine leaflets which are lanceolate, broadly wedge-shaped or rounded at the base, slenderly pointed, toothed, 31⁄2 to 6 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, glabrous on both surfaces; stalk absent or up to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers white, produced during May and June in panicles 8 to 10 in. wide, not so much long, at the end of leafy shoots; flower-stalks glabrous; petals oblong, rounded at the end, 1⁄8 in. long; calyx 1⁄16 in. long, bell-shaped, toothed. Wings of the fruit truncheon-shaped in outline, 1 to 11⁄4 in. long, 3⁄16 in. wide, rounded at the end. Bot Mag., t. 9024.
Native of the Himalaya from the Simla district and the Jumna River eastward, Assam (Khasia Hills), and W. China; introduced by Wilson in 1901. In a young state it is distinct in its stiff young shoots and especially for its large, downy winter-buds, clasped at the base by two thick scales. It belongs to the Ornus section of ashes. The base of the leaf-stalk is sometimes much enlarged after the fashion of F. spaethiana and F. platypoda. It is hardy at Kew, but cannot be included amongst the best ashes there owing to its liability to injury by spring frosts. In localities where it escapes these it promises to be a handsome flowering ash, as it is, indeed, at Headfort in Co. Meath. It has ripened seed there. This tree, which provided the material for the figure in the Botanical Magazine, measures 30 × 51⁄4 ft (1966).
var. sikkimensis Lingelsh. – Rachis of the leaves rusty-tomentose, at least at the base of the leaflets. Described from specimens collected by J. D. Hooker in Sikkim but occurring elsewhere in the range of the species. Contrary to what is stated in the Botanical Magazine (loc. cit.) this variety was validly published.