Fringe Tree

Aspen 2 New(Chionanthus virginicus)

In this time of turning back to native plants, you need look no further than this garden gem.  The Fringe Tree also called Old Man’s Beard, is named for its lacy threadlike flowers.  Few native trees give such a dependable, showy and fragrant flowering display year after year.

The Fringe tree can be grown as a single stem tree, but is more often found as a large multi-stemmed shrub.  Hardy from USDA Zones 3 to 9, it prefers full sun to partial shade with slightly acid moist soils.  Plants should be balled-and-burlapped or containerized when transplanting.

One of our most striking native trees when in bloom, both male and female plants produce flowers.  Only the females, however produce the small date-like fruits that ripen in early fall.  Both male and female plants have to be in close proximity to create the handsome dark blue fruits that are a favorite of game birds.

Slow growing and usually attaining less than 20 feet at maturity, the Fringe Tree is ideal for any patio or garden. Although they will not tolerate drought, they have traditionally had few insect or disease problems and hold up well against pollution.  This may be changing with the introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  This once trouble-free native is still a beautiful tree that you’ll be glad you turned back for.