Think You Can Identify This Plant? No. 39 – July 2008

Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner
Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner

If you know the genus and species of this month’s mystery plant, you could win a free one-year subscription to Fine Gardening . Send your entry by July 30, 2008 to [email protected] . The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries.

Chionanthus virginicus
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Last month’s mystery plant was Chionanthus virginicus, otherwise known as fringe tree, old man’s beard, or grancy greybeard. Fringe tree is native to the eastern United States and is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. It grows to 20 feet tall and wide and prefers full sun or partial shade and fertile, moist, well-drained soil. It is dioecious, which means that female and male flowers appear on different trees, though perfect flowers (flowers with both male and female parts) may occasionally appear on either tree. The long, pendant, frilly flowers appear in early summer and are sweetly fragrant. Female flowers are followed in fall by blue-black fruits that are attractive to birds. Sue Fields of Florissant, Missouri, was chosen at random from all correct entries to receive a free one-year subscription to Fine Gardening. Congratulations, Sue!

What eLetter subscribers have to say about Chionanthus virginicus:

“Love this small tree! I have had one in my yard for over 40 years.” – Jerry W. Weise, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

“Too bad you can’t send the fragrance out as well.” – Margaret Ovitt, Macomb, Illinois

“It is a terrific plant with year round interest. I’ve never had an insect problem with it in six years!” – Cheri Dowd, Aiken, South Carolina

“A friend has one and every spring I tell myself that I must get one. It has a beauty all its own in bloom. When not in bloom, its bright green leaves are appealing.” – Jeff Wier, Lafayette, Indiana

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