Chionanthus retusus - Chinese Fringetree
Family - Oleaceae
Size - To 20 feet in height with equal spread. Broadly rounded shape, slow to medium rate of growth.
Foliage - Oval to rounded in shape, lustrous green. Smaller than the species virginicus. Fall color is yellow.
Flower/Fruit/Seed - Flowers are in panicles up to 4" long and produced on current growth. Blooms slightly ahead of virginicus, about 2 weeks. Flowering here occurs in mid April. Fruit is a 1/2" long dark blue drupe (almost purple) which ripens in the late summer. Fruit occurs on female plants.
Bark - Gray-brown, furrowed.
Pests and Diseases - Spider mites have been a real problem but it seems restricted to the nursery environment. Once in the landscape the problem dissipates. Mildew and scale have also been reported by others but the trees are carefree for the most part.
Landscape Use - Specimen tree. Can be integrated in to the smaller landscape pretty easily due to it's small size and slower growth rate. The flowers in the Spring give the tree the appearance of a fleecy white cloud. The fruit is attractive in the Fall.
Performance - 8 Provides good 3 season interest. Prefers full sun but will grow in part shade with some reduced flowering. It is tolerant to air pollution; prefers a soil which is moist and well drained, slightly acidic. Zones 6 -8.