Chionanthus virginicus
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: old-man’s-beard
  • LEAVES: opposite, simple, deciduous; 3-8” x 1-4” long; elliptical, pointed at both ends; margin entire or wavy, rolled; hairy lower surface
  • FLOWER: axillary panicles 4-10”, white flowers, 4 linear petals; petals 3/4 to 1 inch; April to May
  • FRUIT: dark blue to black drupe; ovoid; 1/2 to 3/4 inch; single seed
  • TWIGS: stout, slightly 4-angled, large lenticels
  • BARK: gray to brown; thin exfoliating scales when older
  • FORM: large shrub, to small tree, to 30 ft
  • HABITAT: rich, moist, stream banks
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: New Jersey to Missouri, Florida to Texas
  • USES: ornamental; good deer browse in spring and summer; seed used by turkey, quail, song birds; bark used in tonics to reduce fever
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. opposite leaves, purple petioles, rolled margins
    2. 4-angled twigs
    3. conspicuous clusters of spring flowers