Chionanthus virginicus – Old Man’s Beard – Fringe Tree –


Chionanthus – Fringe Tree –

There are 10 or more species of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, in this genus. They occur in variety of habitats, including woodland and scrub, and on streambanks and rocky outcrops, in tropical regions in Eastern Asia, Korea, Japan and Eastern USA. Grown for their terminal panicles of flowers, which have 4 slender white petals, and for their blue-purple or blue black fruits. They come into leaf late and are toothed or smooth edged, held in opposite pairs appearing after the flowers in spring. The bark is used medicinally. Suited as a specimen and for a shrub border. Some plants have only male or only female flowers, and therefore may not produce fruit.

Grow in any fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Flowering and fruiting is best in areas with long, hot summer. Some tolerate alkaline soil while other prefer neutral or acidic soil.

C. virginicus – Old Man’s Beard – This spreading, deciduous shrub or a small tree from Southeastern USA grows 10′ feet tall and at least 10′ feet wide.   It produces opposite, usually elliptic to egg shaped, glossy, dark green leaves, to 8″ long. In summer it bears fragrant white flowers, in pendent panicles to 8″ long, among the foliage, followed by small, blue black fruit, ½” long. Needs acidic soil but will tolerate neutral soil.

Zones 4-9