Sunday, August 15, 2010



A genus of only 2 species of large shrubs / trees native to China that are related to the Fraxinus - Ash

Fontanesia fortunei ( Fortune Fontanesia )
A rare but very attractive arching Chinese native shrub or if trained as such, a "bamboo-like" small tree. Similar to the following Fontanesia phillyreoides except more erect in habit reaching around 15 to 20 feet or on ideal sites alot more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 4 feet; 3 years - 6.5 x 5.5 feet; 11 years - 21.5 feet; largest on record - 40 x 20 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.5 feet.
The leaves are up to 5 x 1 inches in size. The luxuriant shiny deep green foliage lasts late in the fall.
The inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers are borne on short panicles, up to 2 inches in length.
Hardy zones 4a to 8 in sun and is very soil tolerant as well as being tolerant of wind and urban conditions. It can be propagated from seed soaked for 24 hours then cold stratified for 3 months before sowing, softwood cuttings and layering. This tough plant makes an excellent natural tall hedge for the Great Plains and Midwest. While it has been cut back to ground during a few severe winters at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, will resprout and grow rapidly during the following growing season and quickly regains it's height.

* historic archive photo

Tall and even more vigorous with long arching branches. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 8 feet; 5 years - 13 x 12 feet.

Fontanesia phillyreoides ( Privet Fontanesia )
An extremely tough, vigorous, dense, arching deciduous shrub reaching up to 15 x 20 feet ( rarely to 25 feet ) that is native to China.
The oppositely-arranged, smooth-edged, lance-shaped leaves are up to 8 x 1 inch in size. The mid-green foliage turns to bright yellow during late autumn.
The abundant, greenish-white, 4 petalled flowers are borne late spring to early summer in axilliary racemes up to 2 inches in length.
They are followed by yellow-brown samaras ( winged fruits ) up to 0.5 inches in length.
Hardy 5 to 8, it is pretty rigid in it's cold tolerance as attempts to establish it at zone 4b Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada have been unsuccessful.

* photos taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

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