Chinese fringetree, or Chionanthus retusus, is a spectacular, small tree that is woefully under utilized. At the time Dogwoods quit blooming, Chinese fringetree explodes with fragrant white flowers that smother the branches entirely. This bloom is really eye catching and would be best viewed with a dark evergreen background. The display is one of the most exuberant of any spring bloomer, and is exceptional enough that if there were no other attributes, this alone would justify planting one. But fortunately it has many other features, such as attractive exfoliating bark year round, especially appreciated in winter. And for summer there are decorative blue fruits that are highly esteemed by the birds. And finally, in autumn, it develops some nice yellow foliage, particularly in the northern end of its range.

Chinese fringetree only grows to 20 feet with a spread of approximately 15, making this stunning plant small enough to work in most any urban garden. And despite its beauty, it is tough and maintenance free, growing across a vast range of climates and conditions.

Chinese fringetree will thrive across most of the US (New England southwards) and does well in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. It is not widely available but can be found at better tree nurseries.

Chinese fringetree


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