White Fringe Tree

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The white fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus, is a small but beautiful tree found in the Marsh Gardens. This tree is characterized by its resplendent white flowers, which bloom in May or June. The tree also has small olive-like fruit, which develops in August or September. It is deciduous and loses its leaves in the winter. This exposes the smooth gray bark. The white fringe tree is found throughout the eastern United States from Texas to Florida and south of New York. This tree is native to Missouri.
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Horizontal, crown
Date of tree entry: 
4.90 m
The tree's bark is smooth and gray. This characteristic bark is found on both the trunk and branches. The bark becomes slightly rougher on more mature limbs.
Twigs & branches
The tree spreads its branches close to the ground. This gives a shrub-like appearance, particularly when in bloom. The branches are no more than a few inches in diameter, and the twigs much smaller.
The white fringe tree is deciduous and loses its leaves in the winter. In warmer seasons, its leaves are elliptical shape. They range from 3 to 8 inches long, and 1.5 to 3 inches wide. The leaves are dark green with a distinct tip. These leaves turn a beautiful yellow or brown color in autumn.
Reproductive Structures
This tree displays white fringe-shaped flowers. This means they have long, slender petals. The flowers are arranged in clusters. The tree produces many flowers across its body, giving a shrub-like appearance. The flowers appear in May or June. They come in male and female varieties. The flowers are pollinated by bees.
The white fringe tree develops fruit in August or September. The fruit is an olive-shaped drupe. It generally contains a single seed. The fruit is purple when fully developed, and green when not yet ripe.
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Natural range of distribution: 
The white fringe tree is found throughout the eastern United States. It appears east of Texas, and throughout the eastern seaboard except for parts of northern New England. The tree most commonly appears near streams and woodland environments.
Origin, history, and uses: 

This tree is native to the United States. It originated in Missouri. It is a popular domestic plant due to its attractive flowers and autumn foliage. The tree is a manageable size for this purpose, ranging from 12 to 20 feet in height. The bark and flowers are traditionally used for medicinal purposes by native Americans.

The white fringe tree's flowers emerge in late spring from May to June. These are pollinated by bees. Olive-like fruits appear from August to September. In autumn, the leaves turn yellow and brown. The tree is deciduous and loses its foliage in the winter. The white fringe tree is a dicot.
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