Chionanthus Species, Chinese Fringe Tree

Chionanthus retusus

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chionanthus (kye-oh-NAN-thus) (Info)
Species: retusus (re-TOO-sus) (Info)
Synonym:Chionanthus chinensis
Synonym:Chionanthus coreanus
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Hazel Green, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Calabasas, California

Lincoln, California

Lodi, California

Merced, California

Rio Linda, California

Jacksonville, Florida

Longwood, Florida

Miccosukee Cpo, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Byron, Georgia

Cumming, Georgia

Norcross, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana(2 reports)

New Orleans, Louisiana

York, Maine

Brookeville, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Pinckney, Michigan

Stirling, New Jersey

New York City, New York

Rochester, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Clayton, North Carolina

Iron Station, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Burgettstown, Pennsylvania

Florence, South Carolina

Greer, South Carolina

New Ellenton, South Carolina

Arlington, Tennessee

Bryan, Texas

Crosby, Texas

Houston, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Texas City, Texas

Thornton, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Mechanicsville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 24, 2017, larrytex1947 from Tyler, TX wrote:

Planted this about a year ago, purchased at Stephen F. Austin semi-annual plant sale. Planted in light shade because of East TX hot summer sun. Blooming right now (March 2017) and covered with many blossoms. The maybe more common Chionanthus Virginicus, of which I have three planted, have just begun to leaf out and have no blooms now. The trees are all about the same height, about 3 to 4 feet. Purchased in Nacogdoches, TX, planted in Tyler, TX.


On Feb 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

There's a magnificent specimen on Bussey Hill in the Arnold Arboretum, Boston, MA Z6a. It's a multistemmed tree with a graceful habit and a rounded crown, about 30' tall. Foliage and stems are medium-fine in texture.

Late to leaf out and bloom, about June 1. The clusters of white flowers are smaller individually than those of our native fringe tree, but they cover the tree just as thoroughly. Outstanding in bloom.

I've seen regular crops of the ornamental blue fruit, though I've seen no other fringe trees nearby. I've even seen one or two self-sown seedlings. I've read that some individuals are polygamo-dioecious (have flowers mainly of one sex but a few perfect flowers as well).

The fall color is yellow and not outstanding by New England standa... read more


On Aug 17, 2013, reeCreations from Burgettstown, PA wrote:

the fringe tree i have is a survivor! i first saw it behind a funeral home in pittsburgh, pa. i saved it when it was being dug up to be replaced by a parking lot. planted it in the back yard. replanted it when i moved to a rural setting a half hour west . then, 5 yrs later, transplanted it again to a location a little north of that - in appalling soil. I had to dig out the stump and roots of a dead ash to plant it so that it would be in full sun. (this soil is so bad, that when the new sewer system was installed the contractor brought in other soil because the clay and rock would be too hard to put back in!) there it has been for 9 yrs, blooming every spring when i revel in it's perfume for 2 or more weeks. it has never set fruit for unknown reasons.
all tolled, i believe this ... read more


On Apr 29, 2012, aussieupover from Wekiva Springs, FL wrote:

I love this tree. I purchased one online and had it shipped from up north. It has been growing beautiful here in central florida for almost 2 years now. Flowered first spring when it was only 6 months in the ground and about 3 foot tall. It is now about 10 ft. All that see her in flower admire her and wonder what she is.


On Apr 11, 2010, b_bruce from Iron Station, NC wrote:

I am in Iron Station N.C. and was in my back yard one day 2 years and smelled this sweet aroma, I traced it down to 3 small trees just in side the wood line, they had the little white star shaped flowers and smelled so sweet. I dug 2 up and planted them in the yard, I have 2 years trying to find out what they were, now I know.They are growing good and have bloomed the last 2 years and are starting this year already. Any tips on how to take care of them are warmly welcomed. I will continue to read posts on them.


On Nov 24, 2009, DAMNATHAN from Chapel Hill, NC wrote:

This beautifully complex & seasonally ornate, aesthetically pleasurable botanical gift resides outside the front door of my townhouse. I have observed that, among several unique traits, that it deciduously sheds it's leaves after all other trees in the region. It stands alone literally & in several ways. Currently it is starting to shed, but does so metachronously, staggered but not necessarily predictably based on positional or aerial sequence. As leaves are falling, a berry forms, becomes tumescent & assumes the size of a blueberry replete with indelible ink-like juice which falls to the ground, & if stepped on, will stain sole of shoe & walkway, in my case. It's shape is oval, not globoid like a blueberry. I noted 20-30 finches, of the same species & subtype (birds of a feather flock... read more


On Aug 26, 2009, greatswede from Lincoln, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Chinese Fringe tree is doing quite well in my backyard with a western exposure and in heavy clay soil. It's irrigated by a drip system.

The flowering in spring is fantastic! Also, it is a low maintenance tree. No leaf burn or insect damage. It's a great tree but am surprised at it's growth pattern. It seems to be goblet shaped instead of umbrella.


On Dec 15, 2007, LiliMerci from North of Atlanta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

10 years? I bought mine last year while visiting Callaway Gardens. Thought it was an unusual tree.


On Sep 13, 2004, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is the corner delight in our shady area, tall and incredibly graceful. The white fringe flowers are like a sprinkling of snow. The leaves are a fall high light, turning brilliant yellow.

You need a male and a female for it to produces olive shape and sized fruit which the birds love.

Very slow growing, never needs pruning.

Reportedly, new trees can require ten years to the first bloom.