Chionanthus comprises two species:
C. retusus, which is indigenous in China, and C. virginicus, which is indigenous in the eastern United States.
This is a deciduous, woody-stemmed, dioecious shrub or tree with whorls of stemmed, pendent clusters of abundant white and sometimes oval, dark blue drupes (only on the female plants, and only if there is a male plant nearby for cross- ).
C. retusus, Chinese fringe tree, is 2-3 (-7) m tall. It has oblong-oval, 2.5-10 cm long, and clusters of snow-white , 5-10 cm long.
C. virginicus, 2-10 m tall, has hairy, oval, pointed leaves, 10-20 cm long, hairy on the underside, and up to 15 cm long, greenish-white clusters of flowers, 2-5 cm long.