Fringe Tree, a handsome flowering shrub or tree named for the appearance of its clusters of snowy-white flowers. The flowers, which usually hang downward, are divided into four to six narrow strips, each about one inch (2.5 cm) long. The blue, egg-shaped fruit contains a single stone, which is edible.
One species is native to the United States from Pennsylvania southward to Florida and along the Gulf coast to Texas. Another is native to China. Both are widely cultivated in parks and gardens. The American species has been known to grow to 30 feet (9 m) and the Chinese to 20 feet (6 m). Both commonly grow 8 to 18 feet (2.4 to 5.5 m) tall, and are shrubs more often than trees.
Fringe trees belong to the genus Chionanthus of the olive family, Oleaceae. The American species is C. virginica; Chinese, C. retusa.