23Wisqoq or Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra Marsh) is a very rare tree in Nova Scotia, with fewer than 300 mature trees identified by UINR staff.

The wood is very unusual–when pounded, it splits into thin sheets along its growth rings. Baskets are woven from slats produced by pounding a wet block of wood until it separates along the annual growth rings. The strips were also used in woven chair seats. This quality makes Wisqoq a very desirable tree species for basket making, snowshoes, canoe ribs and other crafts.

Young Wisqoq has bark that looks like cork. Black Ash usually is found in areas of full or partial sun and tends to grow in wet areas often at the base of a hill or incline. It will survive in area that floods on a yearly basis and can tolerate standing in water for several weeks. It usually grows along with white ash, balsam fir, red maple and speckled alder.

UINR has been involved with the Confederation of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) for the last 3 years in a project that hopes will help re-establish the population of black ash in Nova Scotia. There have been several sites throughout the province identified which contain viable black ash. In the fall of the year UINR and CMM together have conducted a seed collection, with several thousand seeds having been collected in the last 3 years. These seeds are delivered to a nursery where they are germinated and the seedlings than distributed to First Nation communities throughout Nova Scotia.

We have a small number of seeds available with detailed planting instructions if you would like to start a plantation of your own! Drop us a line at info@uinr.ca

For planting instructions and more information about Black Ash go to www.uinr.ca/blackash

From UINR Marten – Vol.1. Issue.2 – Winter 2005