Chionanthus virginicus L.
White fringetree, Fringe tree, Grancy Graybeard
Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Synonym(s): Chionanthus virginicus var. maritimus
USDA Symbol: chvi3
The primary attraction of this 15-30 ft., deciduous tree or shrub is the drooping clusters of fragrant, white blossoms. Dark-blue, grape-like clusters of fruits are produced from female blossoms. The numerous delicate, fragrant, white-to-greenish-white flowers are composed of 4–6 strap-shaped petals 1 inch long by 1/16 inch wide. They hang in showy, branched clusters 4–6 inches long. Flowers open before or with the first leaves. Other features are dark-green, glossy foliage and a pale-gray trunk with bands of white. Leaves are deciduous, opposite, 4–8 inches long and 1/4 inch wide; the petiole is 1 inch long. Fall color is usually not significant. Shrub or small tree with short trunk, narrow, oblong crown, and showy masses of fragrant, lacy, white flowers.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Bluish black
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: FL to e. TX, n. to NJ, s. OH, s. MO & OK; naturalized northward
Native Habitat: Damp woods; thickets; bluffs
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Loose, moist, sandy soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Berries are attractive to wildlife. Twigs and foliage are browsed by many animals. (The plant is only mildly tolerant of this browsing.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Chionanthus virginicus is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Rustic sphinx |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationSeed Collection: Collect from July to September when fruit has turned purple. Clean seeds from the pulp and keep in cold moist storage up to two years.
Seed Treatment: Double-stratification: Expose seeds to a period of warm (68 degrees), moist stratification for 2-3 months, during which the radicle will emerge. Follow this treatment with cool (41 degrees), moist stratification for another 2-3 months.
Commercially Avail: yes
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
LAMTREE FARM - Warrensville, NC
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1072 Collected 2007-07-28 in Mossis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1998 VOL. 15, NO.6 - Landscaping with Native Trees, Society for Ecological Restoration Conference Rev...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Chionanthus virginicus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Chionanthus virginicus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Chionanthus virginicus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2014-03-26
Research By: TWC Staff