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A tree reaching a height of 80 to 120 ft in the Himalaya; bark grey, smooth at first but becoming furrowed on old trees; buds dark, usually slightly hairy; branchlets glabrous, slightly compressed. Leaves 10 to 15 in. long; leaflets usually seven or nine, oblong (terminal one obovate), long-acuminate at the apex, 3 to 6 in. long, 1 to 21⁄2 in. wide, sharply toothed, dark green and glabrous above, midrib and main veins prominent and downy beneath; stalks of leaflets 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, but the uppermost pair almost sessile; rachis grooved. Flowers white in terminal panicles up to 12 in. long; petals oblong, 1⁄8 to 3⁄16 in. long. Fruits narrow-oblong to spathulate.
A native of the Himalaya from Kashmir eastward, at 5,000 to 11,000 ft; described from Nepal, whence it was introduced in 1822, but the plants raised were killed by the winter of 1836-7. In 1876 Sir George King, then Director of the Calcutta Botanic Garden, sent seeds of this fine ash to Kew. Of the trees raised one survived until 1915 after being cut to the ground in the winter of 1880-1. A replacement also died and the species is not now (1970) represented in the Kew collection. Indeed, it seems to be very rare in the British Isles, for no specimen has been recorded in recent years. In the natural state this species has, however, such a wide altitudinal and geographical range, and has always been so uncommon in gardens, that it is impossible to make any generalisation about its hardiness or rate of growth in our climate.
F. floribunda resembles some of the big-leaved forms of F. ornus, but the leaflets are usually much larger, more prominently ribbed beneath, and longer pointed.
This species also occurs in western China. It is rare, but there is an example in the Hillier Arboretum, Ampfield, Hampshire, 18 ft high.
The Kew tree, pl. 1908, measures 69 × 5 ft (1984).