One of the most common trees in Irish hedgerows, woodlands and treelines is the ash. It can grow in a range of soil conditions, though it is not as water-tolerant as the likes of willow and alder, and is an important tree in Irish culture. Sacred to the druids, who would make wands from its straight wood, more recently, its strong shock-absorbent wood has been used to make hurleys, the weapon of choice for one of the fastest sports in Ireland, a well swung ash hurley can propel a sliotar over 150 km per hour. The ash seeds, also called keys for the way they hang in bunches, are eaten by bullfinches, their boughs provide nesting space for several bird species and their canopy is sparse enough to allow light to penetrate to the ground, allowing plants like hazels, dog violet and wild garlic to grow beneath them. Unfortunately ash trees are becoming increasingly threatened by a disease known as ash dieback, which causes the outermost branches to turn black and wither, eventually killing the tree. Resistant varieties are being bred to counter this but it is likely that the disease will take its toll on thousands of ash trees around Ireland.