Oleaceae (Olive family) Chionanthus

Chionanthus retusus Chinese fringe tree

Chionanthus retusus in bloom in the Thomas Church Garden in the Outer Quad. Sairus Patel, 31 Mar 2017
Chionanthus retusus in the Thomas Church Garden. John Rawlings, 3 Apr 2003

A very attractive group of four fringe trees planted in 1968 graces the secluded patio, designed by Thomas Church, north of the southwest corner of the Main Quad, off Lomita Mall. By late March they are in flower, the long narrow petals having a very charming appearance. The fruits are dark-blue oval berries borne in terminal clusters. In 1998 one of the four was replaced by a vigorous tree (with a plaque for Ruth Sloan) bearing berries ⅝ inch in diameter and ⅞ inch long and containing a stone almost as big. It died in 2003, and was subsequently replaced.

Chionanthus retusus branchlet with opposite leaves. John Rawlings, ca. 2005

By 2001, 11 new specimens about 20 feet tall were flowering in the courtyard behind Sequoia Hall, but did not bear fruit. Five are at the entrance to Forsythe Hall, at least three of which bear fruit. Three are at the southwest corner of Panama Mall and Lomita Mall, and four more flank the main entrance to Schwab Residential Center. A pair can be seen at 579 Alvarado Row.

A row of five on the south side of Gravity Probe B (west side of Via Palou Mall) produced copious fruit looking like bunches of small grapes, but were taken down when the building itself was demolished in preparation for the Science and Engineering Quad in early 2006. Several specimens on the south side of Mudd Chemistry were removed in 2016 due to construction.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. All locations updated and Gravity Probe & Mudd removals noted; Panama & Lomita location added (SP, Apr 2018).