Growing Wild Nursery - Coastal Plain Native Plants shopping cart Home | Growing Wild Nursery
$16.00 - gallon

(12 - 18 in. tall)

sold out

available October 2014


Male Fringe Tree

Chionanthus virginicus - male


Chionanthus virginicus (Fringe Tree) flowering in May

Fringe Tree has many common names, including Old Man’s Beard, Grandfather’s Beard, Gracy Gray Beard, and White Ash. It’s a small multi-stemmed tree or shrub, growing 10 to 15 ft. tall and wide, with fragrant, showy fleecy white flowers in spring. Hardy from zones 5 through 9.


How to grow

Plant Fringe Tree in sun to part shade. Prefers moist soil, but is very adaptable and can tolerate periodic drought and flooding! In drier soils, keep watered for two to three years until plants become well established.


Male and female plants plus pollination

Male plants usually have wider petals which makes them appear slightly more showy. However, this is only noticeable if they are planted side by side. Male plants produce pollen which is carried to female plants by insects and allows them to produce fruit. Male and female plants do not need to be planted next to each other for the female plant to produce fruit. Anywhere within 100 yards is adequate for good fruit production, as insects travel far and work hard.


Where to plant

Plant Fringe Tree near patios and courtyards, where its showy flowers will create interest in the spring.


Wildlife attracted

Female plants are laden with dark blue berries in late summer, which are relished by birds. Fringe Tree is a larval host plant for the Rustic, Waved, and Fawned Sphinx moths.


Where found in the wild

In the coastal plain, Chionanthus virginicus occurs in pocosins (evergreen shrub bogs), and edges of swamp forests from New Jersey south into northern Florida. It is common in southeastern North Carolina.


Source and origin

Plants are grown from seeds collected on the edge of a swamp forest in Pender County, North Carolina. Plants are 3 to 4 years old and have already flowered to determine their sex.



Plants from the coastal plain differ from piedmont region, having larger leaves and a more shrub-like habit.



Seed sown in late summer will germinate in 18 months. Seedlings are very slow growing for the first few years. Difficult to root from cuttings.