The Fringe Tree is an underused and often over looked landscape specimen. Native to the Eastern States as far north as Maryland, Chionanthus virginicus has proven to be both very hardy in Upstate NY (even through this last winter) and to be a reliable specimen or accent plant. It’s mostly disease and insect resistant and comes in both tree and shrub form – although even the tree form usually appears to be a bit shrubby. It’s often the very last plant to put leaves on in the spring and flowers 2-3 weeks after the usual spring bloomers (cherry, crab apple, etc.).
Although the flower, individually, is a bit on the dainty side; when in flower the tree is full and flush with blooms. As a bonus, it’s a low maintenance plant that does not need a lot of pruning and is very adaptable to different site conditions. With it’s late burst of white blooms and unique growth structure it’s a fun addition to a landscape that is looking for something a little different.