Perhaps the most attractive feature consists of the wafer-like fruits, which resemble the samaras of Elm trees (Ulmus spp.). Otherwise, this rather unique shrub does not attract much attention to itself. Notwithstanding its common name, Wafer Ash is not one of the true ashes (Fraxinus
spp.), which are members of the Olive family (Oleaceae
). Another common name of this shrub is Hop Tree, because it was used as a substitute for hops in brewing beer. Different varieties of this shrub have been described across its wide range in the United States, but most specimens in Illinois correspond to the typical variety.