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Chionanthus retusus Lindl. & Paxton

Chinese fringe tree

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyOleaceaeTemperate climate shrubs, trees and a few vines, include forsythia, ash, jasmine, privet, olive, lilac, and many others
GenusChionanthusFrom Greek χιών (chion), “snow,” and ἄνθος (anthus), “flower”
SpeciesretususRounded with a shallow notch at the apex, in reference to leaf shape

About plant names...

Chinese fringe tree is native to China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, with a penchant for moist, fertile, acid soils. They do not tolerate prolonged dry weather well.

Plants: Shrubs or trees are up to 66' (20 m) high. Bark is thick and heavily fissured.

Leaves: Opposite, 1-4½" (3-12 cm) × ¾-2½" (2-6.5 cm), ovate to oblong-elliptic. They are shiny dark green on top, and paler below, with stems (petioles) ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) long.

Flowers: In full bloom, these flowers turn the entire tree into a beautiful snow-white mist of fragrant, tassel-like blooms. Each flower has four straplike petals, arranged roughly in a cone.

Fruits: Fruits look a little like small olives, about ½" (1.3 cm) in diameter, ripening to a deep blue-purple color.

Online References:

Chionanthus retusus at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum

Chionanthus retusus at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Chionanthus retusus on www.monaconatureencyclopedia.com

Chionanthus retusus at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Chionanthus retusus on Wikipedia

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/17/2012 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/17/2012 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

8/31/2013 · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, Virginia
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

8/31/2013 · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, Virginia
≈ 8 × 6" (19 × 16 cm)

Chionanthus chinensis Maxim.

Chionanthus coreanus H.Lév.

Chionanthus duclouxii Hickel

Chionanthus retusus var. coreanus (H.Lév.) Nakai

Chionanthus retusus var. fauriei H.Lév.

Chionanthus retusus var. mairei H.Lév.

Chionanthus retusus var. serrulatus (Hayata) Koidz.

Chionanthus serrulatus Hayata

 

Chionanthus retusus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 29 Sep 2020.

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Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/18/2020 · Emelie Tolley’s, Topsham, Maine
≈ 7 × 4½' (2.2 × 1.5 m)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/17/2012 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 12 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/4/2021 · Emelie Tolley’s, Highland Green, Topsham, Maine
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 10 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/9/2017 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 10 × 14" (26 × 36 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/9/2017 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 9 × 8" (23 × 19 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/17/2012 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/9/2017 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/18/2020 · Emelie Tolley’s, Topsham, Maine
≈ 6 × 5' (1.9 × 1.6 m)

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese fringe tree)

6/9/2017 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Range: Zones 5-9:

About this map...