Fringe tree grows as either a wide-spreading, multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree useful in native woodland gardens, as a specimen plant in groups, borders, or near large buildings. The fringe tree's most outstanding feature is the fragrant, strap-like, white flowers that are borne in six to eight-inch long fleecy panicles in late May to early June.
All common names:
- Residential and parks,
- Under utility lines
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Small tree (15-25 feet),
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Clay soil,
- Road salt
- Moderately Tolerant
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
- Spring blossoms,
- Fragrant flowers,
- Showy fruit,
- Showy flowers
Seasons of Interest:
- late spring,
- early summer,
- early fall,
- mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
photo: John Hagstrom
Tree & Plant Care
In landscape situations Fringetree is typically a shrub growing 12 to 20 feet high, but as a tree it can reach 30 feet high and wide.
Tolerant of wind and air pollution.
Best grown in well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.
Prefers moist, fertile soils.
Seldom needs pruning.
Disease, pests and problems
No common serious problems
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Resistant to black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the southeastern United States.
Bark color and texture
Light gray-brown and slightly ridged.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Leaves are late to emerge in spring.
Simple, opposite, narrow to elliptical leaves; 3 to 8 inches long with entire margins; lustrous medium green, paler underside.
Yellow fall color.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Fleecy, 6 to 8 inch clusters (panicles) of strap-like, four-petaled white flowers resembling an old man's beard.
Dioecious (separate male and female plants). Male flowers are showier than female flowers.
Flowers on the previous year’s wood.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Only female plants bear ½ inch long, bluish fruit, which ripens in September.