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Chionanthus virginicus

white fringetree add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium, high

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 12'-20'

Bloom Time: April, May, June

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: attracts bees, berries, fragrant plant, pond margin plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)
  • Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)
  • Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)
  • Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)
  • Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Chionanthus virginicus

Also known as:

white fringetree

,

fringe tree

,

old man's beard

,

flowering ash

,

grandfather graybeard

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Considered a large shrub or small tree, the fringetree is best known for its sprays of fragrant, downy white flowers which bloom as the plant's first leaves emerge. This usually occurs in mid-spring after the dogwoods have finished flowering. Showy, olive-like fruit ripen in summer and are attractive to wildlife. The glossy leaves turn yellow in fall but without much fanfare.

Cultivation

Chionanthus virginicus prefers moist, rich, well drained soil in part sun, however, it is well adapted to wet conditions and is found naturally along stream banks. Placement in a shadier spot will ensure more attractive foliage, more sun will lead to more spectacular blooms. Its form is multi-stemmed but it can easily be pruned to grow with a single trunk and higher canopy. The flowers are long lasting, blooming as early as April in the south, and as late as June in the northern limits of its range. Zones 5-9

Propagation

Propagate by layering. Freshly collected seeds may be planted directly outdoors in fall but will not germinate until the second spring after that. Stored seeds need to be previously cleaned and dried, and can be tricky germinate. They will require alternating periods of warm and cold moist stratification.

Additional Notes

The fringetree is a hardy member of the Olive family. It is fairly tolerant to air pollution and well adapted to urban settings. A good complement to, or substitute for dogwoods.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Threatened: OH

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Scrophulariales
Family Oleaceae Olive family
Genus Chionanthus fringetree
Species Chionanthus virginicus white fringetree