Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) and its Chinese counterpart (Chionanthus retusus) are among the Phactor's favorite spring flowering shrubs. They are just so beautiful in flower, although maybe a bit ungainly of a shrub. But both are tough, a bit slow growing, but if you don't have one of these, you really should consider adding it to your landscape. When you see a really big specimen in flower it can take your breath away. The flowers are small, but the four-corolla lobes are long and flowers are produced in profusion, and the whole tree just drapes itself in a veil of white. Brides should be so lovely! Fringe trees are relatives of Forsythia and lilacs, all in the olive family, and generally you grow them like lilacs, even being tolerant of shade. American fringe tree has larger leaves and is a bit coarser in appearance than the Chinese fringe tree.