Category Archives: Small Flowering Trees

Chionanthus retusus : Chinese Fringetree

Theodore Klein Awards: Day Three

Chionanthus retusus is a large shrub/small tree that is prized for its glossy green leaves, fragrant white flowers in late spring and its cultural adaptability. Plant in full sun or part shade in reasonably rich soil and it will provide years of enjoyment. It is amazing in flower in a given season you cannot see the foliage for all the flowers that form at the end of the new shoots. A seedling-grown southern-form (rounded leaves that Steve Foltz, Cincinnatti Zoo & Boatanic Garden Director of Horticulture, says is the better form) at the UKREC keeps its leaves until very late even after a hard freeze which turns them a shiny light brown that reflects as almost white from a distance. In the rainy summer of 2009 it was very prone to putting out long shoots.

I have been growing this for years now.  When I moved into my house I planted one in my neighbors yard.  I have been very impressed with the abundant blooms that you see below but somewhat unimpressed with how slowly it grows.

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