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Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Fringe Tree Blooms Fringe Tree, a native species of the Southeastern US, is found as far west as Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri and as far north as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Although it is not a common tree, it grows in a variety of habitats within its range, from moist streamside edges to dry and mesic forests, to rocky outcrops. In the spring it displays clusters of fragrant white flowers with four fringe-like petals that give rise to its common name. Trees are generally unisexual (dioecious), but perfect flowers may occur on some plants. The dark blue, olive-shaped fruits develop in late summer and are eagerly eaten by birds and small mammals.

Fringe Tree Leaves The simple, dark green, opposite leaves are from 3 to 8 in. long and elliptical in shape. Herbal remedies have been made from Fringe Tree roots to treat liver, gallbladder, and other digestive ailments. Remedies using the root bark have been used as a healing poultice and for reducing inflammation of the eyes and mouth. Fringe Tree is used primarily as an ornamental/yard tree. Though it is not common in our area, a specimen planted in 1966 can be seen in the Arboretum's Shade Tree Collection. Its fragrant, white fringe-like flowers are conspicuous from late April to early May.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu