Chinoanthus retusus

Chinese Fringe Tree

This Asian fringe tree species blooms in late spring, with clusters of drooping white flowers that are slightly fragrant. It has a medium growth rate to 15 to 20 feet tal;, its habit is a multi-stemmed large shrub or a small tree. It is in the olive family and produces small dark blue fruits that attract birds. The plants are usually dioecious, however, so you’d need at least two trees for fruit set. It is hardy to –5°, but must grow in areas that get cool in winter (zones 6 to 8). Grow in full sun to partial shade in an area with good drainage.

I found this tree in the back of the nursery today, hidden like a secret treasure. Finding it there reminded me of one of my first gardening jobs in Minnesota. The couple had a semicircle of flagstones outside their side door, inter-planted with Irish moss that continually needed weeding. To one side there was a lovely fringe tree, and to the other a hazel bush. The fringe tree there was Chionanthus virginicus, native to the southeastern U.S. It is quite hardy, possibly to zone 3, and has smaller petals, producing an airy effect and earning the common name of old man’s beard.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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