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Grandfather's Beard

Posted by puppyscruff 7/NC (My Page) on
Thu, May 29, 08 at 12:14

Does anyone know the botanical name or any other name for Grandfather's Beard tree? I have a couple growing in my woods. The natives here in Sanford always come into the garden centers where I work looking for them. They are often confused with Fothergilla shrub, or Bottle Brush. They are not one and the same but quite opposite in form. Any info would be appreciated.

claire in sanford


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Do you mean Fringe tree? If so, it's chionanthes virginicus, i believe. Fairly certain that's another common name for it. I'd love to have a source for those myself!


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

I think what you're looking for is Chionanthus viriginica(sp?). I call it native Fringe Tree but I believe that I've seen it referred to by that name.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Yes, that's it! Thanks a bunch. The ones near my house are on the edge of the woods. I don't think I would dare dig them up.

This clears up the confusion with Fothergilla, which has been sold under that common name.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill carries them. I searched all over this spring when they were in bloom. Boy did I feel silly when checking on the progress of some shrubs I purchased from Niche last fall and found I already had one. Adele


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

puppyscruff, you could collect berries from the ones on the edge of the woods and plant those. By late summer, they hopefully will have dark blue berries/drupes.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Good idea, esh, especially b/c the two of them are not on my property! I'm not much of a propagator...quite impatient and kind of elderly to be growing trees from seed. Still it's a great idea.

And, Adele, am i the only one who is not surprised that you buy things you forgot you already have!

I must say though, when Niche gave us gardenwebbers all those goodies a couple of years back, they are some of the best plants I have from a fancy schmancy nursery. I would buy there anytime and pay top dollar if I had to. I haven't had the same luck with items from PD. It's probably just me.

claire in sanford


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Nope- not just you. I've had terrible luck with PD plants- more than a 50% mort rate. So, I go now for inspiration and dreaming and buy very, very little there- 1 or 2 plants i can't get anywhere else and am reasonably sure aren't pushing the envelope too far (which, i think is half the problem). I have ogled things there before, made a mental note to buy at some point, and a season or 4 later they show up at BB's (cheaper, too). That's when i know they've been vetted and are good bets. I buy things i already have sometimes, too. d'oh! Just pretend i was going for the multiples thing, yeah, yeah.

Somehow i missed the niche GW giveaway thing, bummer. Sounds like fun!

Claire, you're far from elderly! stop. I was reading in my prop'ing woody natives book that starting seed from fringe tree is a bit tricky. It needs multiple seasons of stratification to sprout, so just be very patient if you try it. It's nearly impossible to root, according to the book. Me, i'm gonna be watching for a place to buy a tree- maybe a trip to niche is in order! :) They were at a recent save site, but i couldn't ID them, so i didn't end up getting any. They are said to be hard to transplant from the wild in any case.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

I have 3 or 4 that I transplanted from the wild (authorized rescues) ... not hard at all; the biggest one bloomed this year even. I haven't tried them from seed, but I do have a volunteer coming up, so a seed came from somewhere (and my store bought one did have berries the last two years)! Course if a bird pooped it out, it had a way better chance of sprouting then if it just dropped there.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

esh, that's good to know. Hopefully the next time i get to go to a save site i'll have someone with me that knows what to look for. This particular site is almost ready to be worked on, and so there's a last minute rush to get out theer whenever possible to get as much as possible. So, the past 2 times it's just been me and a friend or my family, and infortunately they aren't any better at that ID than i am.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Tammy, i think I'll just enjoy the fringe trees in my neighboring woods. Don't have a lot of space here for trees. In fact, I'm always looking to increase sunlight for the perennials, but some are just so tempting.

Kudos to esh though for those successful authorized transplants. The local people here in Sanford are just hot for fringes. I think it's nostalgia.


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RE: Grandfather's Beard

Hi everyone
We are new to N.C. & GardenWeb. We have a
Grandfathers Beard plant & its been neglected. Now that we own the property we would like to trim our plant.
My question is when can we trim it (sagging lower branches). I don't want to kill it because of the wrong time of year to trim. Thanks Stan


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