Chionanthus retusus

The Chinese Fringe Tree. A deciduous tree beloved by both gardener and birds for clouds of bloom in spring.


Followed by those indigo autumn berries. Now about 15 feet in height, at maturity reaching 20-25 feet.


True story: The fringe tree was dragged to its current spot in the back garden by an ’82 Jeep Wagoneer straining on the ropes, tires tearing up the front lawn pre-gravel garden, inching it slowly from the west side of the house to the east, neighbors agape at the sight. First mistake was planting this wider-than-tall tree in a narrow strip along the driveway. By the time this mistake became apparent, the sapling didn’t impress as too big to transplant, but after freeing up the root ball there was no way for man or beast to lift that root ball up and out of that deep, deep hole. Wagoneer to the rescue. One of the more foolish garden escapades I’ve initiated but with a “berry” happy ending. Bought as a tiny seedling from Burkard’s Nursery in Pasadena.

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3 Responses to Chionanthus retusus

  1. Kathy says:

    Correcting those mis-planting mistakes with a jeep is preferable to waiting so long that the victim is no longer car-sized and a semi might be needed- therefore one has to call the Tree Guy. The Tree Guy is expensive.

  2. Les says:

    I don’t recall reading about ’82 Wagoneers in best tree manangement practices.

    I love the Chinese Fringe and prefer to our native. It has a much more attractive branching stucture.

  3. Denise says:

    Kathy, so true, gardening mistakes can lift sidewalks, rupture pipes, etc.
    Les, you use what you’ve got. I’m still amazed that tree survived.

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