Virtues: Fragrant spring flowers are very showy. Grows as a small tree or large shrub, often with more than one trunk, with a size that recommends it for a small garden or tight space. Dark blue fall fruit (female trees only) attracts birds. (A male and a female tree are needed for fruit set.)
Common name: Fringe tree, old man’s beard
Botanical name: Chionanthus virginicus
Flowers: White flowers are held in drooping 4- to 8-inch-long clusters in late spring. Fragrant. Long, narrow petals inspire the common name fringe tree.
Foliage: Medium-green 3- to 8-inch-long leaves turn yellowish or brown in fall.
Habit: Deciduous multistemmed tree or large shrub, 12 to 20 feet tall with a similar crown width.
Season: Spring for flowers, summer for shade.
Origin: Native to the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Florida and west to Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Cultivation: Grow in full or part sun. Adaptable, but likes moist, acidic soil with good drainage. USDA Zones 4–9.