Chionanthus virginicus

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

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Taxonomy (1,3)

Classification: Angiosperm, dicot
Family: Oleaceae
Common name: Fringetree, Grancy Gray-beard, White Fringetree, Old-man's-beard

General Information (1,2,4)

Region of Origin: Southeastern United States
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 6-10
Growth Habit: Small tree or tall shrub

  • Size: 12-20 feet tall
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
  • Flowering: May to June
  • Fruiting: August to September

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (1)

  • Arrangement: Opposite
  • Simple/Compound: Simple
  • Shape: Elliptic to obovate-oblong
  • Other: 3-8 inches long, sometimes pubescent on lower surface

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

Stem/Bark (1)

  • Color: Gray
  • Texture: Slightly ridged and furrowed

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

Flower (1)

  • Perfect/Imperfect: Imperfect (Dioecious)
  • Color: White
  • Inflorescence type: Panicle

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

Fruit (1)

  • Fruit type: Drupe
  • Size: 1/2-2/3 inch
  • Color: Dark blue

Horticultural Information (1,2,4)

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade

Interesting Facts (2)

  • The bark has been used as the source of a tonic said to be a diuretic and a fever reducer.


1) Dirr, M. (1998). Manual of woody landscape plants: Their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses (5th ed.). Champaign, Ill.: Stipes Pub..
2) Christman, Steve. (2004, April 16). Chionanthus virginicus. Floridata. Retrieved March 27, 2013, from
3) Brickell, C., Cole, T. J. (. J., & American Horticultural Society. (2002). American Horticultural Society encyclopedia of plants and flowers (Rev. and updated. ed.). New York: DK Pub..
4) Everett, T. H., & New York Botanical Garden. (1980). The New York Botanical Garden illustrated encyclopedia of horticulture. New York: Garland Pub..

Prepared by Nicole Rutledge as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek