General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9a
Plant Height: 12 to 20 feet, possibly to 35 feet
Plant Spread: 12 to 20 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: 1/2 to 3/4 inch ovoid drupe, mathuring to dark bluish-black color, each containing a single seed, rarely two or three seeds.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Patio/Ornamental/Small Tree
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Flowering Tree
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Pollution
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: warm, moist 2-3 months then cold moist 2-3 months
Needs specific temperature: warm 68 degrees F then 41 degrees F
Pollinators: Bees
Various insects
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

Image
Common names
  • Fringe Tree
  • Virginia Fringetree
  • Old Man's Beard
  • Grancy Graybeard
  • General Grant's Beard

Photo Gallery
Location: Aberdeen, NC (Colonial heights)
Date: April 16, 2024
White Fringe tree #204 nn; LHB p. 800, 166-9-1, "Greek, snowflowe
Location: St Louis - Missouri Botanical Garden
Date: 2023-05-08
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2021-04-11

Date: 2005-05-20
Location: Victoria, BC
Date: 2023-10-08
Nice fall colour
Location: Beautiful Tennessee 
Date: summer 2013
heavenly scent
Location: St Louis - MoBOT
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-10-31
full-grown tree in autumn
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2021-04-11
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2015-04-09
Location: Powell Gardens near Kansas City, MO
Date: 2009-05-18
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2008-09-04
the olive-like fruit on a female tree
Location: Sacramento, CA
Date: 2019-04-11
Location: Southern Pines, NC
Date: April 11, 2023
White Fringe tree # 424; RAB p. 830, 153-3-1; LHB p. 800, 166-9-1
Location: Mark's Park (home) zone 6a
Date: 2020-05-30
Best Perfume EVER

Date: 2004-06-06
Location: Lutz, FL
Date: 2016-04-14
Location: Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid
photo credit: A. Barra
Location: Powell Gardens near Kansas City, MO
Date: 2009-05-18
Location: Wayneboro MS
Date: 2007-03-28
Location: My Yard
Date: 4/19/2016
Location: Southern Pines, NC
Date: April 11, 2023
White Fringe tree # 424; RAB p. 830, 153-3-1; LHB p. 800, 166-9-1
Location: Middle TN
Location: Middle TN
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-06-06
two mature trunks
Location: St Louis
Date: 2010-05-02
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date: 2023-06-08
Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) this is a female tree.
Location: Middle TN
Date: November 1, 2017
Location: Tennessee
Date: 05/12/2014
photo by Arthur T. LaBar via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photo
Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA
Date: 2014-04-10
Photo by Nicole TheRedHairedLass@Etsy.com used with permission Ph
Location: Willow Valley Communities, Lakes Campus, Willow Street, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: 2019-05-08
Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5b
Date: 2013-08-11
Branch structure of a young plant.
Location: Lilburn, GA
Date: 2020-11-11
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-05-10
white flowers on branches
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: September 23, 2017
My tree is a male, but in some years a few female flowers occur a
Location: Massachusetts garden
Date: September 23, 2017
The "olive-like" fruits produced on female flowers, are technical
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, ON, Canada
Date: 2014-06-05
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, ON, Canada
Date: 2014-06-05
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-04-11
mature tree before leafing out
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2015-04-09
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date: 2020-11-03
Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)seedlings.
Location: Dawes Arboretum, Newark Ohio, USA
Date: 2012-02-22
Photo by sedumzz
Location: Lutz, FL
Date: 2015-03-17
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-05-23
Planted in a shady area, ours never reaches the majesty displayed
Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5b
Date: 2012-06-11
Planted in 2011.
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date: 2020-03-09
Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) 2019 fruit and seeds in 2020
Location: Vienna, VA
Date: 2017-08-09
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-05-08
Location: near West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-08-09
full-grown tree in summer
Location: near West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-05-10
full-grown tree in bloom
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-06-06
summer foliage
Location: Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-09-04
foliage and fruit
Location: Fairfax, VA | May, 2023
Location: Waynesboro MS
Date: 2007-03-28

Date: 2012-04-14
Young rooted branch is already blooming
Location: Middle TN
Date: October 22, 2017

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Meadowlark Botanical Garden, Fairfax, Virginia (May 2022)
Date: 2022-05-01
Location: Dawes Arboretum, Newark Ohio, USA
Date: 2012-02-22 
closeup of leaf buds
Location: Dawes Arboretum, Newark Ohio, USA
Date: 2012-02-22
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2015-04-09
Location: Lutz, FL
Date: 2015-03-22
This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
  • Posted by MarksPark (Northern Metro Detroit area - Zone 6a) on Jun 5, 2023 1:52 PM concerning plant:
    I have had a Fringe Tree growing since 2000 in my backyard (Marks Park) and it is the best fragrance I have ever experienced. I have bought Gardenia perfume for my wife in the past, which I feel is somewhat similar to the fringe tree. But the fringe tree fragrance is not as heavy as the gardenia, and it is clean, and clear, and fresh smelling. As I saw someone on you tube say, I just want to fall asleep under this tree one day while it blooms.
    While the tree I have started out as a multi-trunk bush, it just got larger and leggy to where it seems a mess with branches bending every which way. But I am afraid to prune it as it does not seem to like it much, and the soil on my lot is basically just sand with a small mounded circle of topsoil at the base of the tree. So I try not to kill it by disturbing it too much if possible.
    I wish that I could propagate it somehow, but I am not sure how, as it seems to be a male tree without seeds of any kind. I have tried a cutting or two of newer wood (2nd year) that I stuck in some soil with rooting hormone, but that failed. If anyone knows the trick, I would appreciate some info.
    Anyway, this tree is my prized possession in the yard, and I believe everyone should have one on their property. I think a preferred location would be just upwind of a patio with afternoon shade and/or within reach of an open bedroom window for best appreciation. Unfortunately for me I have neither of those location suggestions due to not ever experiencing this tree prior to planting one at the suggestion of a nursery. So I suggest to everyone, GET ONE NOW!
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 17, 2012 2:02 PM concerning plant:
    This is a small tree. It grows 10 to 20 feet tall and as wide, and has an open, spreading form with one or several light gray trunks. Fringe Trees erupt into bloom. Individual flowers of inch-long, thin, wavy, white petals form clouds of blooms along the stems. They are sweetly fragrant. Flowering persists for several weeks. Summer leaves are oblong, pointed, 6 inches long or so, and have medium to coarse texture. Fall color is yellow to brown.

    Individual Fringe Trees are either male or female. Males may have slightly showier flowers; females, when pollinated by a male, have clusters of blue berries in late summer.

    Fringe Tree grows wild in various habitats in the southeast: moist woods, dry rocky slopes, and sandy stream banks, but usually on basic soils. To best grow this small tree, give it sun or part shade and moist, fertile soil.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 27, 2017 7:19 PM concerning plant:
    A most lovely small tree that can be a large shrub in the North. Native range from southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania down into central Florida to east Texas to southern Missouri to southern Ohio. The leaves are dark green and 4 to 8 inches long and to 4 inches wide with smooth or wavy margins. and turn yellow in the fall. The white flowers are in drooping pyramidal spikes about 4 to 8 inches long with new leaves in the May to early June range, blooming about 7 to 10 days and slightly fragrant. The female trees bear blue-black oval grape-like berries with each about 1 inch long. The bark is brown-gray and smooth a long time, eventually becoming more brown with thick flaky scales. In nature it is slow growing of about 4 to 6 inches/year growing in upland slopes and ravines, ledges, and ridges. In landscapes it can grow about 1 foot/year in the richer soil, and it lives 50 to 150 years. Moist, rich, slightly acidic soil is best . It is offered by some larger, diverse nurseries and by some native plant and specialty nurseries. A few nurseries as Hinsdale Nurseries and Possibility Place sell some in the Chicago, IL region, but I've only seen one shrubby specimen planted there at Cantigny Gardens in the 1980's. A wonderful plant that is infrequently planted, as most people don't know it. Most likely to be seen in professional landscapes of estates, parks, around public buildings, campuses, and such by landscape architects and designers.
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 1, 2014 6:35 PM concerning plant:
    Birds and other wildlife enjoy the berries of the Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus).
Plant Events from our members
Catmint20906 On May 8, 2015 Bloomed
Catmint20906 On November 1, 2014 Transplanted
WebTucker On April 11, 2023 Bloomed
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Untitled by MaryDurtschi Aug 26, 2019 7:17 AM 0
Untitled by MaryDurtschi Aug 26, 2019 7:20 AM 0

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