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Fringe tree - Chionanthus virginicus

Fringe tree - Chionanthus virginicus

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This wonderful small tree, also known as "greybeard," is a nice understory tree that grows 12-20' tall and 8-15' wide. It is a long-lived perennial in the Oleaceae (Olive family) which can live up to 50 years. It likes a location where it gets sun through the majority of the day (part sun to full sun areas). Fringe trees are highly adaptable and will thrive in a range of soil types, but rich, well-draining soil is best. They are drought-tolerant once established. In the spring time, it will be flush with the sweet-scented white flower tassles after which it gets its name. This is a host plant for rustic sphinx (Manduca rustica), waved sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa), and laurel sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae). Birds enjoy the blue/black fruit produced in fall and it also attracts bats. It makes a nice specimen tree where drought-tolerant trees are needed and is adaptable to a variety of conditions once established. However, it is at its best when blooming and showing off. It is deciduous and will lose all of its leaves by fall.  So planting it in a mixed grouping of trees will help distract when the tree is not as showy. A nice alternative to the non-native Crepe myrtle trees. Fringetree is dioecious, which means both a male and female specimen are necessary to ensure pollination and fruit. (Both the male and female trees will produce flowers, but only the female tree will produce fruit.)

 

/AC