The manna ash has twisty branches with twigs bending downwards, dark smooth bark and a dense canopy of dark green leaves. It is not like a weeping ash (also grown as a graft) which is a form of the common ash Fraxinus excelsior. The manna ash Fraxinus ornus is quite different and bears creamy-white fragrant flowers. Were they perhaps seen as manna from heaven?
There is an excellent manna ash at Rowallane Gardens, Saintfield, just by the front of the lovely house which is the National Trust headquarters.
Another of these rarities is tucked away in the depths of Randalstown Forest. The tree recalls a former existence when the area was the deerpark of the Shane’s Castle Estate next door. There was a forester’s cottage here, which was round -sadly, it was demolished though it must have been of great interest.
The tree was probably planted around 1840 and would have been a very special feature in the garden of the little round house in the woods.