Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
White Fringe Tree
Chionanthus virginicus L.
- Family: Ash (Oleaceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its toothless, opposite, simple leaves and its
numerous flowers with 4 narrow white petals.
- Habitat: Moist woods, thickets, along streams.
- Habit: Shrub or small tree to 30 feet tall.
- Twigs: Slender, gray to brownish; leaf scars opposite.
- Leaves: Opposite, simple, narrowly elliptic to oblong to ovate, more or less pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, up to 6 inches long, smooth, without teeth; leaf stalks slender, smooth.
- Flowers: Numerous in loose, drooping panicles up to 8 inches long, white, up to 1 1/4 inches long, fragrant.
- Sepals: 4, united at base, green, minute.
- Petals: 4, united at base, white, linear, pointed at the tip, up to 1 1/4 inches long.
- Stamens: 2, attached to the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Drupes ovoid to ellipsoid, purple, with a whitish waxy coat, 1/2-3/4 inch long.
- Notes: Many species of wildlife eat the fruits of this species. White fringe tree is a beautiful ornamental.
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