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Chionanthus virginicus Plant of Merit

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Kemper Code:  C120

Common Name: fringe tree
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Tree
Family: Oleaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Eastern United States
Height: 12 to 20 feet
Spread: 12 to 20 feet
Bloom Time: May - June   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low


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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils. Seldom needs pruning. Tolerant of air pollution and adapts well to urban settings. Intolerant of prolonged dry conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Fringetree is a deciduous, Missouri native shrub or small tree with a spreading, rounded habit that typically grows 12-20' tall (to 35' in the wild, however) and most often occurs in rich, moist woods and hillsides, moist stream banks, limestone glade margins and rocky bluffs and ledges. Common name refers to the slightly fragrant, spring-blooming flowers which feature airy, terminal, drooping clusters (4-6" long) of fringe-like, creamy white petals. Dioecious (separate male and female plants), but also may have perfect flowers on each plant. Male flowers are showier than female flowers. Fertilized perfect or female flowers give way to clusters of olive-like fruits which ripen to a dark, bluish black in late summer and are a food source for birds and wildlife. Wide, spear-shaped leaves (to 8" long) turn yellow in autumn.

Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to scale and borers (particularly when grown in dry locations).

Uses:

Grow in groups or as specimens in lawns or in shrub or woodland borders. Also may be used in native plant gardens or near streams or ponds. Can be spectacular in full bloom.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011


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