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Botanical Name: Chionanthus retusus

Common Name: Chinese Fringe Tree
Origin: S. China/Taiwan
Location: KS

Notable Feature: Beautiful and fragrant when in full bloom, appearing as a “dome of soft, fleecy snow”.                                                                                    

Habit: The tree grows slowly to 15 to 25 feet high and is multi-stemmed.  In the wild, it will grow to 30 to 40 feet. The silhouette is spreading and rounded.  The gray-brown bark may peel or it may be tightly ridged and furrowed.

Flower: In May pure white, fragrant flowers with fringe-like petals appear on upright, 2- to 3-inch long panicles at the end of the current season’s growth.  Usually dioecious, where the male and female flowers are on different plants, however some specimens may have perfect (bisexual) flowers.  Male flowers are usually showier.

Fruit: In fall small, 1”or less, oval, fruit appears on female plants that is a purple-blue in color.  The fruit is very attractive to birds.

Foliage: Lustrous, leathery leaves are ovate to elliptic and 4” long.  Leaves are bright green above and whitish green and downy beneath.  Fall color is yellow but not outstanding.

Interesting Fact: The genus Chionanthus comes from the Greek words chion meaning snow and anthos meaning flower.

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