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Trees With Flowers Or Fruits - The Fringe Tree

( Originally Published 1927 )

Native to the middle and southern portions of the United States is a slender little tree (Chionanthus Virginica, Linn.), whose sister species inhabits northern and central China. Both of them cover their branches with delicate, fragrant white flowers, in loose drooping panicles, when the leaves are about one third grown. Each flower has four slender curving petals an inch long, but exceedingly narrow. In May and June the tree is decked with a bridal veil of white that makes it one of the most ethereal and the most elegant of lawn and park trees at this supreme moment of the year. Later the leaves broaden and reach six to eight inches in length, tapering narrowly to the short petioles. Thick and dark green, with plain margins, and conspicuously looped venation near the edges, these leaves suggest a young magnolia tree. Blue fruits the size of plums succeed the flowers in September, denying the magnolia theory and shading to black before they fall. The flesh is dry and seeds solitary under the thick skin of the drupe.

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