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Toxic parts

Contact with the sap has caused skin or systemic allergic reactions in some people[1].

Edible uses


Manna - a sweetish exudate is obtained from the stems by incision[2][3][4][5][6][7]. The quality is better from the upper stems. A mild sweet taste[5], its main use is as a mild and gentle laxative[6], though it is also used as a sweetener in sugar-free preparations and as an anti-caking agent[1]. The tree trunk must be at least 8cm in diameter before the manna can be harvested[3]. A vertical series of oblique incisions are made in the trunk in the summer once the tree is no longer producing many new leaves[3]. One cut is made every day from July to the end of September. A whitish glutinous liquid exudes from this cut, hardens and is then harvested[2]. Dry and warm weather is essential if a good harvest is to be realised[3]. The tree is harvested for 9 consecutive years, which exhausts the tree. This is then cut down, leaving one shoot to grow back. It takes 4 - 5 years for this shoot to become productive[2]. Average yields of 6 kilos per hectare of top quality manna, plus 80 kilos of assorted manna are achieved[2].


Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Fraxinus ornus.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The manna obtained from the trunk is a gentle laxative and a tonic[3][8]. It is especially valuable for children and pregnant women[3][1]. Its action is normally very mild, though it does sometimes cause flatulence and pain[3].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


The seed is best harvested green - as soon as it is fully developed but before it has fully dried on the tree - and can then be sown immediately in a cold frame[9]. It usually germinates in the spring[9]. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification and is best sown as soon as possible in a cold frame[10]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions or a nursery bed in late spring or early summer of the following year. If you have sufficient seed then it is possible to sow it directly into an outdoor seedbed, preferably in the autumn. Grow the seedlings on in the seedbed for 2 years before transplanting either to their permanent positions or to nursery beds.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Fraxinus ornus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a deep loamy soil, even if it is on the heavy side[11][10]. Most members of this genus are gross feeders and require a rich soil[4][10]. Succeeds in exposed positions[10] and in alkaline soils[4]. Requires a moist soil according to some reports[11][4] whilst another says that it succeeds in drier soils[10]. Plants are tolerant of atmospheric pollution[10].

Although the dormant plant is very cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. A very ornamental plant[11], the manna ash is cultivated for its edible manna in Sicily and Calabria[12][13]. The flowers are sweetly scented[14]. Trees have a very dense canopy[4].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Fraxinus ornus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Fraxinus ornus.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Fraxinus ornus
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

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  1. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  2. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  3. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  5. ? Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
  6. ? Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
  10. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  11. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  12. ? Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  13. ? Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man. Academic Press ISBN 0-12-136450-x (1975-00-00)
  14. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  15. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)

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