This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fringetree a new tree for treetown

A Chinese fringetree (Chionanthus retusus) has been growing happily in the arb for decades, but more recently it was introduced into Ann Arbor's more immediate landscape thanks to the city's street-tree program. At this time of year it's easy to spot -- it's in full bloom and displaying its distinct fleecy four-petaled flowers. I haven't seen enough of this tree to be able to easily pick it out in a line-up, but the leaves are quite lustrous and arranged in pairs (or close to it). And it seems that its habit is a little more relaxed than that of our native fringetree. The literature says it typically grows to 20' or so. The flowers look a bit like those of forsythia, but white and elongated. Makes sense as the two plants are in the same family (the Oleaceae). 

Since the honeylocust is such a ubiquitous shade tree, I am posting this image of the damage I saw yesterday to a grouping off Jackson Rd west of town. Freeze damage? Not sure. Honeylocust leaves had just begun to emerge when the freeze hit us in late April. Maybe the leaves on these trees were ahead of the pack due to the extreme parking-lot microclimate.  

1 comment:

  1. What a coincidence! I just passed a nice specimen in front of St. Andrews church on Division just hours after reading your description. Wouldn't have even noticed it otherwise. I would have to agree it does make a nice landscape addition.