Click for previous Image Image 1 of 2 Chionanthus retusus Chinese Fringetree

Chionanthus retusus

Chinese Fringetree

Plant Type:


Chionanthus retusus – The Chinese Fringetree is something else! I first ran across an adult specimen with Russell Stafford atop one of the many knolls at Arnold Arboretum. It was the bark on this multi-stemmed shrub that astonished me. Heavily exfoliating, rich brown semi-glossy papery peels decorate the stems all the year round. Spring-blooming pure white flowers set on open panicles about 3 inches long, a bit wider at the outer edges of the shrub. If pollinated purple-black fruits occur in the late season to autumn on female shrubs. Ours, a northern selection exhibits shiny elongated tongues of oppositely set leaves averaging about 6 inches long, some longer with others shorter. Fertile draining soil in at least one-half day of sun to full sun. May be pruned to a single trunk as a small specimen tree. Established pot grown shrub from cutting.


10-15 ft


8-12 ft




(5)6 to 8
What is my hardiness zone?

Characteristics and Attributes for Chionanthus retusus

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Spring

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Spring / Summer / into Autumn

Interesting Bark

  • Textured
  • Lenticels
  • Handsome
  • Exfoliating

Autumn Interest

  • Fruit / Berries / Seed Heads


  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Full Sun


  • Specimen
  • Shrub Border
  • Accent

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Medium


  • Draining
  • Fertile


  • China, Japan, Korea

Propagated By

  • Cutting Grown