Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
fringe tree


Chionanthus virginicus, commonly known as fringetree, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that is renowned for its striking appearance, particularly when in bloom. The most distinctive feature of the fringetree is its fluffy, fragrant, white flower clusters, which usually appear in late spring and early summer. These flowers have long, thin petals that dangle like fringes, creating a cloud-like effect around the branches. The foliage of the fringetree consists of simple leaves that are arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves are generally oval in shape with smooth edges and a glossy, dark green surface. In autumn, the leaves may turn to a bright golden color, adding another layer of visual interest to the plant. After the flowering period, the fringetree produces bluish-black fruits. These fruits are small, oval-shaped drupes that attract birds and other wildlife. The bark of the plant is typically smooth and light gray, providing a subtle but pleasing contrast to the dark green leaves and vibrant white flowers. The branches of the fringetree are arranged in a rounded shape, giving the plant a full and bushy appearance. The overall display of the fringetree makes it a popular choice for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Fringetree, White Fringetree, Old Man's Beard, Grancy Graybeard

    • Common names

      Chionanthus vernalis, Linociera virginica, Mayepea vernalis.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Fringetree is generally not considered toxic to humans. There is little information suggesting any significant toxicity, and instances of poisoning are not commonly reported. As with any plant, some individuals might experience mild stomach upset or an allergic reaction if they ingest parts of the plant, but it is not known for being hazardous.

    • To pets

      The Fringetree is also not known to be toxic to pets. There is no significant evidence to suggest that the Fringetree poses a risk of poisoning to dogs, cats, or other domestic animals. Pets that ingest parts of the plant may experience mild gastrointestinal upset, but serious symptoms of poisoning are unlikely. Owners should still prevent pets from ingesting plants as a general precaution.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      12-20 feet (3.7-6 meters)

    • Spread

      6-12 feet (1.8-3.7 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Landscape Aesthetics: Chionanthus virginicus, commonly known as White Fringetree, offers striking spring blooms that enhance garden beauty with their fringe-like white flowers.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Provides shelter and nesting sites for various bird species and includes nectar sources for butterflies and other pollinators.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, White Fringetree is fairly tolerant of drought conditions, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-efficient landscaping.
    • Seasonal Interest: Offers a variety of visual interest throughout the year, including flowers in spring, blue-purple fruit in summer, and yellow fall foliage.
    • Urban Tolerant: Demonstrates a measure of resistance to urban pollution, allowing it to thrive in city environments where other trees might struggle.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal pruning and care once established, making it a low-maintenance option for landscapes and gardens.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic: Chionanthus virginicus, commonly known as fringe tree, has been traditionally used to promote the production and flow of urine.
    • Liver tonic: The bark of the fringe tree is believed to have liver-stimulating and protective properties.
    • Gallbladder support: It has been used to help with the treatment of gallstones and inflammation of the gallbladder.
    • Anti-inflammatory: The plant may possess anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial in reducing inflammation in various conditions.
    • Cholagogue: Fringe tree is thought to encourage the flow of bile from the gallbladder into the duodenum, which can aid in digestion and liver function.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Landscape Design: Fringetree is popular for its ornamental appeal, particularly its attractive white, fringe-like flowers that bloom in spring, making it a beautiful addition to gardens and parks.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The tree provides shelter and nesting sites for birds, while its fruits are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals.
    • Wood Crafting: The hard wood of the Fringetree can be used in fine woodworking, including the making of small turned objects and specialty items.
    • Natural Dyes: The bark of the Fringetree can be used as a source of natural dyes for textiles, yielding various shades depending on the mordants used.
    • Artistic Inspiration: Artists may use the aesthetic qualities of the Fringetree's flowers and form as subjects for photography, painting, and other visual arts.
    • Perfumery: The scent of the Fringetree flowers may be used in creating natural perfumes or in aromatherapy blends for its light, appealing fragrance.
    • Educational Tool: Fringetree can be used in educational settings such as botanical gardens to teach about native plant species and their role in ecosystem diversity.
    • Cultural Significance: In some areas, the Fringetree may hold cultural significance and be used in rituals or ceremonies by indigenous or local communities.
    • Beekeeping Attractant: The blossoms of the Fringetree are attractive to bees and can be planted to support local honey production by providing a nectar source.
    • Privacy Screening: When planted in a row or as a hedge, Fringetree can serve as an attractive privacy screen that also enhances the local biodiversity.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Fringetree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Fringetree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purity: Chionanthus virginicus, commonly known as Fringe Tree, often symbolizes purity due to its delicate, white, fringe-like flowers which can evoke a sense of innocence and cleanliness.
    • Renewal: As a plant that flowers in spring, the Fringe Tree is frequently associated with renewal and the fresh start that comes with the season, representing new beginnings and rebirth.
    • Peace: The soft, feathery appearance of the Fringe Tree's blossoms can be symbolic of peace and tranquility, suggesting a serene and calming presence.
    • Spiritual Awareness: Due to its ethereal beauty, the Fringe Tree can be tied to higher states of consciousness or spiritual awareness, invoking a sense of connection to something greater than oneself.
    • Overcoming Challenges: As the Fringe Tree thrives in various conditions and transitions smoothly from a bare winter into a flourish of spring bloom, it can signify overcoming adversity or resilience in the face of difficulty.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-5 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Fringe tree requires regular watering, especially during its first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Watering it once a week with about 1 to 1.5 inches of water should suffice, but always adjust for rainfall, as overwatering can be detrimental. In dry periods without rainfall, the tree may need additional water. The best method is to provide a slow, deep watering that reaches the roots rather than a quick surface irrigation, which you can achieve by using a drip system or a hose on a slow trickle for several hours. After the first year, fringe trees are more drought tolerant and can often do well with less frequent watering, depending on the climate conditions and soil moisture.

  • sunLight

    The fringe tree thrives in full sun to partial shade. It performs best when planted in a location that receives at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day, so an area with morning sun and some afternoon shade would be ideal. This tree is adaptable, though, and can still grow in shadier spots, but it may produce fewer flowers.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Fringe trees can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and are hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. They can survive winter temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and can handle summer temperatures well into the 90s. The ideal growing conditions for the fringe tree are temperatures that average between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning fringe trees is best done to shape the tree, remove any damaged or diseased wood, and encourage healthy growth. It should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Pruning the tree annually is not necessary; you can prune every few years or as needed to maintain the tree's shape and health. When you do prune, make sure to remove only small branches to avoid causing stress to the tree.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Fringe tree thrives in well-draining soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. A mix of loam, sand, and compost is ideal to provide the necessary nutrients and drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    Fringe trees, being slow growers, don't require frequent repotting. It's generally recommended to check the root system every 2-3 years, and repot if necessary.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Fringe trees tolerate a wide range of humidity levels but prefer moderate to high humidity, similar to their native woodland habitats.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, well-drained soil, and moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) begins its lifecycle with seed germination, typically after a period of cold stratification, which helps break the seed's dormancy. Once germinated, the seedling grows and develops a root system and foliage, entering the vegetative stage. As a slow-growing plant, it may take several years to mature fully and begin the reproductive stage, where it produces fragrant white flowers in the spring. Following pollination by insects, the fringe tree develops small, bluish-black fruits or drupes, which mature in late summer and are eaten by birds, leading to seed dispersal. In the fall, the leaves turn a yellow color before the tree enters dormancy during the winter months. This deciduous shrub or small tree can live for many years, repeating the flowering and fruiting cycle annually once maturity is reached.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Fringe Tree, or Chionanthus virginicus, is through seed sowing. Seed propagation should ideally be done in the fall, immediately after the fruit has ripened and seeds have been collected. The seeds need to be stratified, which means they should first be stored in a refrigerator at about 34-41 degrees Fahrenheit (1-5 degrees Celsius) for approximately 60 to 90 days to break dormancy. After stratification, seeds can be sown about 3/4 inch (19 mm) deep in a well-draining soil mix. It is important to keep the soil consistently moist until germination occurs, which can be slow and irregular. Seedlings should be cared for and protected from harsh conditions until they are strong enough to be planted out in their permanent location.