Chionanthus retusus, commonly called Chinese Fringetree, is native to China, Korea and Japan. This plant is noted for its profuse spring bloom of fragrant white flowers.Plants are primarily dioecious (separate male and female plants), but some plants may have some perfect flowers. Male flowers are slightly showier. Female flowers (if fertilized) give way to clusters of olive-like fruits (each to 1/2”long) which ripen to a dark bluish black in late summer/fall and are a good food source for birds and wildlife. Lustrous, leathery leaves are ovate to elliptic and 4” long. Leaves on young plants have serrate margins. Leaves are bright green above and whitish-green plus downy beneath. Leaves turn yellow in fall (reportedly more attractive in northern areas). The exfoliating gray-brown bark is attractive in winter.
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