Fraxinus excelsior Golden Desert®
Common name: 
Golden Desert Ash
FRAKS-i-nus ek-SEL-si-or
‘Aureafolia’, ‘Aurea’
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous tree, 30 ft (9 m) tall and somewhat less of a spread, compact, rounded head.  Leaves opposite, pinnately compound, 25-30 cm long, 7-11 leaflets, foliage is reportedly yellowish in spring, green-yellow in summer, and yellow-gold in fall.
  • Sun or part shade
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 5
  • There is much confusion as to its botanical name.  Jacobson (1969) lists the correct cultivar name as Fraxinus excelsior ‘Jaspida’ and synonyms as Fraxinus oxycarpa ‘Aurea’ or ‘Aureafolia’, F. o. aurea ‘Golden Desert’, and F. o. Golden Desert™.  Sometime offered as Fraxinus angustifolia ‘Golden Desert’.  It would not be surprising if more than one clone was offered under the Golden Desert name.  The Pacific Northwest Plant Locator, Black-Eyed Susans Press, has more information on the name problem in a recent update (  It is argued that nurseries selling Fraxinus excelsior 'Golden Desert', actually are offering Fraxinus angustifolia ssp. oxycarpa 'Golden Desert', since they state, there is "no known cultivar 'Golden Desert' of F. excelsior".  If this is confusing to you.... we are in the same boat.
  • From: Journal of Arboriculture 10(1):24-32(1984)  Checklists of cultivars of European ash (Fraxinus) species.   A. J. McArdle and F. S. Santamour, Jr.
    "GOLDEN DESERT (E.H. Scanlon & Assoc, Olmsted Falls, Ohio, Wholesale List No. 15, Fall 1963-Spring 1964, p.45, Trademarked) — as Fraxinus oxycarpa aurea -Golden Desert Ash; golden bark and green foliage turning to gold about July.   The Latin epithet was later changed to Fraxinus oxycarpa aureafolia, also with the note "Patent Pending," in Trees Mag. 24(5): 5, 1964.  Apparently never actually patented.  Since the "variety" names aurea and aureafolia are in Latin form and published after January 1, 1959, we have taken 'Golden Desert' as the valid cultivar name".
  • excelsior: taller
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: small tree north side of parking lot west of Kerr Administration,


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, spring

    plant habit, spring

  • leaves and stems

    leaves and stems

  • leaf


  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • plant habit and foliage, fall

    plant habit and foliage, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • leaf, fall

    leaf, fall

  • winter, plant habit, bark and buds

    winter, plant habit, bark and buds

  • male flowers, spring

    male flowers, spring

  • before and at pollen release

    before and at pollen release