Fringe Tree

The Native Fringe Tree

This tree, the Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), is one of the native trees more recently planted in our Arboretum. A new acquisition is in a location where many of you living or working or attending the Early Learning Center (ELC) at Kendal at Oberlin can easily enjoy it over the year. Walk up from the employee parking lot to enter the building, or bring your child to the ELC. Look for the circle of plantings. It is in the middle of a grouping of beautiful small shrubs and flowers. A sign on the north side of the bed gives the names of the plantings.Another native fringe tree is in the new bed between cottages 108 and 100.

The fringe tree's botanical name Chionanthus means snow flower. Its native range is the Eastern United States. Both its height and spread are between 12 and 20 feet. The slow growing fringe tree is dioecious (separate male and female plants). The male flowers are showier, and the females have the fruit. But you cannot tell which you have when getting a young plant. It has showy, creamy, white blossoms in late spring, olive-like fruit that is attractive to birds, and elliptical leaves which are late to emerge in the spring turn yellow in autumn. 

The fringe tree tolerates air pollution and can grow in well drained clay. It is tolerant of salt.  Do keep observing the fringe tree throughout the seasons. I think you will find it a joy.

                                                                        Anne Helm for the Arboretum Committee

fringe tree