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Chionanthus retusus

Common Name(s):
Chinese fringetree
Cultivar(s):
Serrulatus
Category:
Trees
Comment:

What kind of plant is tough as nails, has gorgeous foliage, snow-white flowers, and exfoliating bark? It’s the Chinese fringetree. Native to Korea, China, and Japan, this easy-to-grow deciduous tree displays a showy, white, clustered bloom that appears like fringe each spring.

Sometimes grown as a multi-stemmed large shrub, Chinese fringetree can develop into a modest-sized tree, ranging in height from 18 to 35 feet. Transplant this Asian native into a location with full sun or partial shade. The lustrous, leathery foliage looks best when grown in some light shade, while the flowering is heaviest when planted in full sun. This tree tends to flower better in alternate years.  The only real downside is that is it frequently damaged by deer.

The Chinese fringetree is an excellent choice anywhere a small tree is needed. It is well suited for most Carolina landscapes, due to its adaptability to our varied soil types. Use as a specimen tree or in a mixed shrub border. Like many white-flowered plants, the fringetree looks especially pretty transplanted in front of a dark evergreen backdrop.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Seed: Drupe

Insect Disease and other Pest Problems: Frequently damaged by deer.

Height:
18-35 feet
Flower:
Snow white, fragrant flowers in panicles at ends of shoots; 0.5-in. dark blue fruit on female trees
Zones:
5-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Sun to partial shade; range of soil types
Texture:
Coarse
Form:
Spreading, rounded; multistemmed
Width:
10-25 ft.
Growth Rate:
Moderate
Leaf:
3-8 in. opposite, leathery, lustrous leaves
Tags:
play, showstopper, small tree, deciduous, specimen, show stopper, birds, playground, children’s garden, boarder, wildlife, fragrant flowers, small spaces

NCCES plant id: 1961

Chionanthus retusus Chionanthus retusus
Photo by Zebulon Walton, CC0
Chionanthus retusus Chionanthus retusus flower detail
Photo by Tanaka Juuyoh, CC BY - 2.0