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Chionanthus virginicus L.
White fringetree, Fringe tree, Grancy Graybeard
USDA Symbol: CHVI3
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The primary attraction of this 15-30 ft., deciduous tree or shrub is the drooping clusters of fragrant, white blossoms. Dark-blue, grape-like clusters of fruits are produced from female blossoms. The numerous delicate, fragrant, white-to-greenish-white flowers are composed of 4–6 strap-shaped petals 1 inch long by 1/16 inch wide. They hang in showy, branched clusters 4–6 inches long. Flowers open before or with the first leaves. Other features are dark-green, glossy foliage and a pale-gray trunk with bands of white. Leaves are deciduous, opposite, 4–8 inches long and 1/4 inch wide; the petiole is 1 inch long. Fall color is usually not significant. Shrub or small tree with short trunk, narrow, oblong crown, and showy masses of fragrant, lacy, white flowers.
One of the last trees to bear new leaves in spring, it appears dead until the leaves and flowers appear. The genus name Chionanthus, meaning snow and flower, describes the blossoms.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Opposite Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Bluish black Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May
AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV Native Distribution:
FL to e. TX, n. to NJ, s. OH, s. MO & OK; naturalized northward Native Habitat:
Damp woods; thickets; bluffs USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Loose, moist, sandy soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Berries are attractive to wildlife. Twigs and foliage are browsed by many animals. (The plant is only mildly tolerant of this browsing.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Collect from July to September when fruit
has turned purple. Clean seeds from the pulp and keep in cold moist storage up to two years. Seed Treatment:
Double-stratification: Expose seeds to a period of warm (68 degrees), moist stratification for 2-3 months, during which the radicle will emerge. Follow this treatment with cool (41 degrees), moist stratification for another 2-3 months. Commercially Avail:
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Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1072
Collected 2011-07-29 in Mossis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2012-05-21
Research By: TWC Staff