Fringe Tree: Native Tree with Showy Spring Flowers

If you live in the Washington DC metro area, you may be seeing fringe trees blooming now — its wispy cream flowers, like an old man’s beard, swaying in the breeze. Fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus) are native, deciduous trees that prefer full sun to part shade and moist fertile soil. Their natural habitats are damp woodlands. Fringe trees are named after their sweetly scented flowers, comprised of 4 to 6 one-inch long straps. Although fringe trees are dioecious (male and female plants), they both flower. Some produce what are called “perfect” flowers (having both male and female parts). Therefore, female flowers and perfect flowers produce fruit that resemble dark blue olives. Fringe trees belong to the olive family and the birds love the fruit. These slow growing trees mature around 15 to 20 feet and are perfect for the home as specimen trees.


One response to “Fringe Tree: Native Tree with Showy Spring Flowers

  1. This was something that some of our clients asked us to grow when we were growing plants that serve the same sort of purpose in the landscape. We discontinued most of those other plants before adding this one. It was best to stick with the crops that we excelled at. I sort of preferred this one to the others though, just because it is native to North America.

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