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
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
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Chionanthus virginicusAlso known as:
old man's beard,
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.
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
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.
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
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
|Species||Chionanthus virginicus||white fringetree|