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Common name: Chinese Fringe TreeType: ShrubAspect: Prefers full sunColour: WhiteSeason: SummerSoil: Not specifiedSize: MediumDelivery: Collection onlyImage: WTGN
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A most elegant and rare shrub, potentially a small tree, from the Far East, bearing massses delicate sprays of fragrant white flowers in early summer. In its native China, Chionanthus retusus may grow to as much as 12m tall, forming a truly magnificent, rounded tree. Introduced into the UK in 1845 by the plant explorer Robert Fortune who, incidentally, notoriously stole tea plants from China on the behalf of the East India Company in order to establish a rival and British-dominated tea industry in India.
Chinese fringe trees grow best in quite sheltered positions on reliably moist and reasonably rich soil, so improve with well rotted garden compost before planting. Fully hardy and probably growing to 2-4m over the course of a decade or two.