Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Chionanthus retusus (photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic)
Chionanthus retusus (photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic)

Click to Enlarge

Zone
Zones 3-9, 14-24, 28-34, 39
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Chionanthus retusus

Chinese Fringe Tree
Oleaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees

CHIONANTHUS

Spectacular flowering plants requiring some winter chill. The common name (fringe tree) refers to the narrow, fringelike white petals on flowers that are borne in impressive, ample, lacy clusters. Male and female plants are separate; males have larger flowers. If both plants are present, females produce clusters of small, dark, olivelike fruit favored by birds. Broad leaves turn bright to deep yellow in fall.

Good drainage is required. Minimal pruning needed. Resist most pests and diseases, though fungal leaf spot and powdery mildew may occur.

Chionanthus retusus (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Chionanthus retusus (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

Click to Enlarge

Chionanthus retusus

Native to China and Taiwan. Grows to about 20 ft. tall, not quite as wide spreading as Chionanthus virginicus. Usually seen as a big multistemmed shrub but can be trained as a small tree. Leaves are 2–4 in. long. Pure white blossom clusters to 4 in. long appear in late spring or early summer. A magnificent plant when in bloom, something like a tremendous white lilac. Handsome gray-brown bark (sometimes golden on young stems) provides winter interest.

You Might Also Like...

Sarcococca hookeriana humilis

Low growing, seldom more than 1 1/2 ft. high; spreads by underground runners to 8 ft. or more. Branche...

Chionanthus retusus

Native to China and Taiwan. Grows to about 20 ft. tall, not quite as wide spreading as Chionanthus...

Hydrangea serrata

This shrub from Korea and Japan resembles H. macrophylla. Grows to 4–6 ft. tall and wid...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement