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New Tree Species Identified In Anne Arundel County

Lothian, Md. (August 22, 2011) - The tree species pumpkin ash, or Fraxinus profunda, was identified and measured earlier this month at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary near Lothian by Dan Wilson, a volunteer with the Maryland Big Tree Program (MBTP).

“The Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division has recorded examples of this tree growing in swampy areas at two other locations,” said John Bennett, volunteer coordinator of MBTP. “But this is the first time a full measurement has been taken so that the tree can be added to the Maryland database maintained by our program.”

Pumpkin ash looks very similar to the widespread green ash, but has larger seeds and a more hairy stem. The most interesting characteristic is that the base will often swell and form into a pumpkin-like orb. The wood is very hard and is used to make axe handles and baseball bats.

The tree is very common in the wetlands along the Mississippi and the southeastern Atlantic states, where it can grow up to 130’ tall and have a circumference of 15’ or more. The Maryland example has a circumference of 3’7” and a height of 58’. The United States Champion is located at the Big Oak Tree State Park in Missouri, with a circumference of over 15’ with a height of 150’.

This Maryland example is growing about 20’ from the boardwalk at Jug Bay in a swampy area. It is part of a grove of 20-25 smaller pumpkin ash trees, some of which have fallen over. Staffers at Jug Bay are available to direct visitors to the proper location.

The Big Tree Program originated in Maryland in 1925, went national in 1940, and is run by American Forests, www.americanforests.org. Each state has a State Coordinator who collects data, measures trees, and biannually submits certain trees to American Forests as potential National Champions. For more information, visit dnr.state.md.us/forests/trees/bigtree.asp.


   August 22, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov