Chionanthus Virginicus or White Fringe Tree

Chionanthus virginicus

White Fringe Tree

Oleaceae

chionanthus-virginicus

The generic name is derived from the Greek words chion, meaning snow, and anthos, meaning flower. The genus contains only two species: the white fringe tree from North America and the Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus) from China. They are deciduous shrubs or small trees with opposite, entire leaves and flower parts in fours, the long, narrow, ribbon-like petals parted almost down to the base. The fruits are dark blue and ovoid in shape.

The white fringe tree was first introduced into Britain in 1730 by Collinson. It is larger than the Chinese fringe tree, growing into a 3-m (10-ft)-high tree. It flowers from May to June. The leaves of the variety maritimus are hairy on the underside.

The white fringe tree is propagated by means of seeds which are stratified in the autumn and sown the following spring. It may also be propagated by slit or notch grafting or by budding on to Fraxinus ornus rootstock. The growth of the seedlings is slow. Young plants must not be planted too deep. The fringe tree is fully hardy in Britain. It does best in a sunny position and good loamy soil, and does not require pruning. It is most striking when grown as a solitary specimen, even in small gardens, and is also attractive in loose groupings in front of dark conifers or evergreens.

30. April 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Ornamental Shrubs, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Chionanthus Virginicus or White Fringe Tree

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