Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Meet the Grancy Greybeard

Let me introduce you to a tree native to the southeastern United States, Chionanthus virginicus. (Chionantus means "snow flower").

Some call them fringe trees, others Grancy Greybeard. 

Despite this not being the southeastern United States, there are at least three of these trees that I know of in the Binghamton, New York area. (I'm sure there are more).  I think there should be more of these fascinating trees.  They adapt well to urban settings, I have read.
Starting out shyly - Otsiningo Park, Broome County, New York
They are just about the last trees to leaf out.  For weeks after other trees have leafed, they stay dead looking.  They are cautious trees.  People ignore them, and plant dogwoods.  But when they bloom, watch out.  Their season is short.
Their blooms look like fringes, or beards; hence the name.  They have some sweet fragrance.
Another angle.

The fringe tree comes in male and female trees.  The males have showier blooms but the females bear small fruit in the fall, which wildlife loves.

Yesterday, after the weekend, I returned to the Broome County courthouse, where most of these pictures were taken.  The fringes were dying.  The short blooming season had ended.

Be mindful, the trees teach us.  Be cautious.  And be as showy as you would like when it is your time to flower.

Good lessons, indeed.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Ha! Thank you. For beards, it depends, I think, how well groomed they are. For Grancy's- always pretty.

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  2. Never heard it called Grancy Greybeard. When I moved to the South, I was told it was a fringe tree.

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  3. What a nice post about a lovely tree.

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  4. Sort of look like what we call Buck Brush but the flowers our sort of tan color.
    Coffee is on

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    1. I wonder if the Buck Brush (yes, I looked it up and it appears it was even described by Lewis and Clark) is more of a western plant. Amazing how foliage can differ in the eastern and western U.S.

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  5. I love the way you write! The last line, fav! Truly trees do teach us! Thanks for sharing! xx

    Do check out my latest Haiku: http://www.expressinglife.in/2016/06/haiku-wildlife.html

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  6. I have seen these in India too and they have a nice fragrance like you said.

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    1. Pleased to know they are found in India, too.

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  7. "And be as showy as you would like when it is your time to flower." I love this and I am writing it in my affirmation journal! Great post, what wonderful observations. Thank you for sharing this treasure today.

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  8. These flowers do look a bit like scruffy beards. I get really moved by trees and honestly feel tempted to give them a hug. Does this ever happen to you?

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  9. Yes, definitely good lessons.

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  10. Oh so pretty... They do look like beards, I must say :)

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