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Chionanthus virginicus

Chionanthus virginicus

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Chionanthus
Species: C. virginicus
Binomial name
Chionanthus virginicus

Chionanthus virginicus (White Fringetree) is a tree native to the eastern United States, from New Jersey south to Florida, and west to Oklahoma and Texas.[1] [2]

  It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 10–11 m tall. The bark is scaly, brown tinged with red. The shoots are light green, downy at first, later becoming light brown or orange. The buds are light brown, ovate, acute, 3 mm long. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate or oblong, 7.5–20 cm long and 2.5–10 cm broad, with a petiole 2 cm long, and an entire margin; they are hairless above, and finely downy below, particularly along the veins, and turn yellow in fall. The flowers have a pure white, deeply four-lobed corolla, the lobes thread-like, 1.5–2.5 cm long and 3 mm broad; they are produced in axillary panicles 10–25 cm long when the leaves are half grown. It is usually dioecious, though occasional plants bear flowers of both sexes. The fruit is an ovoid dark blue to purple drupe 1.5–2 cm long, containing a single seed (rarely two or three), mature in late summer to mid fall.[2][3][4][5][6]

The species name was originally cited by Linnaeus as Chionanthus virginica, treating the genus as feminine; however, under the provisions of the ICBN, the genus is correctly treated as masculine, giving the species ending as virginicus.[1][7] Other English names occasionally used include Grancy Gray Beard and Old man's beard.[6]

Cultivation and uses

Although native of the south United States it is hardy in the north and is extensively planted. It prefers a moist soil and a sheltered situation and may be propagated by grafting on the ash. The wood is light brown, sapwood paler brown; heavy, hard, close-grained.[6]

Medicinal uses

The dried roots and bark were used by Native Americans to treat skin inflammations. It has also been used to treat liver problems and gall-bladder inflammation. There is some evidence that it reduces sugar levels in urine. The crushed bark can be used in treatment of sores and wounds.[8][3]


  1. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chionanthus virginicus
  2. ^ a b USDA Woody Plant Seed Manual: Chionanthus virginicus (pdf file)
  3. ^ a b Missouriplants: Chionanthus virginicus
  4. ^ Oklahoma Biological Survey: Chionanthus virginicus
  5. ^ Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  6. ^ a b c Keeler, H. L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons, 222-224. 
  7. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chionanthus
  8. ^ Plants for a Future: Chionanthus virginicus
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chionanthus_virginicus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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