FRINGE TREE

FAMILY: Oleaceae | GENUS: CHIONANTHUS

TYPE
  • Deciduous
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Moderate Water
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9

Plant Details

These spectacular flowering plants get their common name from the narrow, fringelike white petals on flowers that are borne in impressive, ample, lacy clusters. Male and female plants are separate; males have larger flowers. If both plants are present, females produce showy clusters of inches., blue-black, olivelike fruit that is favored by birds. Broad leaves turn bright to deep yellow in fall. Give good drainage. Minimal pruning needed. Requires some winter chill.

chinese fringe tree

chionanthus retusus

  • From China.
  • To about 20 feet tall, not quite as wide spreading as Chionanthus virginicus.
  • Usually seen as a big, multistemmed shrub but can be trained as a small tree.
  • Leaves 24 inches long.
  • Pure white, fragrant blossoms in clusters to 4 inches long appear in late spring or early summer, 2 to 3 weeks before Chionanthus virginicus comes into flower.
  • A magnificent plant when in bloom, something like a tremendous white lilac (Syringa).
  • Handsome gray-brown bark (sometimes golden on young stems) provides winter interest.

fringe tree, grancy graybeard

chionanthus virginicus

  • Native to southeastern U.S. Leaves and flower clusters often twice as big as those of Chionanthus retusus; blooms appear a few weeks later.
  • Lightly fragrant, greenish white flowers.
  • Can reach 30 feet tall, but in gardens usually grows 1220 feet high with equal spread.
  • Habit varies from very shrubby and open to more treelike.
  • Grows more slowly in the Upper South, where young plants can be used as shrubs for a number of years.
  • In that zone, it's one of the last deciduous plants to leaf out in spring.

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