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This is one of those interesting genera of plants represented, but very sparsely, in both the New and the Old Worlds. In this case one species is found in the eastern United States, the other in China. They belong to the olive family, and have opposite, deciduous leaves. The flowers are in panicles, their most remarkable feature being the four or five long, narrow, pure white petals, united quite at the base. Stamens two. The fruit is an egg-shaped or oblong drupe, containing usually one seed.
In gardens, although undeservedly neglected, the two species of Chionanthus are amongst the most attractive and distinguished of all hardy shrubs though neither flowers here with such profusion as in the eastern United States. They like a moist, loamy soil of good depth and quality, and a sunny position. C. virginicus is best propagated by seeds obtained from America, but both it and C. retusus can be raised from layers. The former is also grafted on the common and manna ashes, but plants so raised are neither so healthy nor so long-lived as those on their own roots. If C. retusus is not obtainable on its own roots, it might be grafted on seedlings of C. virginicus. Both of them are suitable as isolated specimens on lawns; they produce abundant fibres at the root, and transplant easily.
C. retusus is figured in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 785.