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Chionanthus retusus
Chionanthus retusus

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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. Common name refers to 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. To be given good drainage. Minimal pruning needed. Resist most pests and diseases, though fungal leaf spot and powdery mildew may occur.

Chionanthus retusus
Chionanthus retusus

Click to Enlarge

Chionanthus retusus

Native to China and Taiwan. Grows 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 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.

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