Fringetree Identification: Fringetrees are small, deciduous trees or large shrubs with scaly winter buds. Bundle scars are in a circular pattern. Side buds are globular with four to five pairs of bud scales. Branches are Fringetree Flowers
spreading, stout, and somewhat smooth with gray to greenish brown bark.
Leaves: Opposite and large with entire leaf margins. They appear mostly near the upper ends of the twigs. They are generally oblong in shape and 3 to 8 inches long. Foliage is dark green and shiny above and paler beneath. The leaves are leathery to the touch. Fringetrees are likely to be the last plant to leaf out in the spring and are long-lived trees.
Flowers: The flowers are white and, when in full bloom, are strikingly attractive with drooping, fringed, or feathery blossoms. The very fragrant 4 to 8 inch long terminal panicles open in April and May as the foliage begins to emerge.
Fruits: The fruits are blue-black, single-seeded drupes and ripen in September on the female plants. The trees may be male or female and both have lovely flowers, but only females develop fruit.
Family: Oleaceae (Olive family)
Other Names: Gray beard tree, Old man’s beard, Poison ash tree, Snowdrop tree, Snowflower, White fringe
Flowers: April – May
Parts Used: Root bark and trunk bark.
Habitat: Dry slopes. New jersey to Florida; Texas and eastern Oklahoma north to Missouri and southern Ohio.
Harvest: The roots and trunk bark should be gathered in spring or autumn.
Constituents: A lignin glycoside (phyllyrin), saponins (including chionanthin, a hemolytic saponin glycoside).
Medicinal Properties: Alterative, Antiemetic, Bitter Tonic, Cholagogue, Diuretic, Hepatic Stimulant, and Laxative.
Main Uses: Hepatic disease, cholecystitis, duodenitis, glycosuria of hepatic or alimentary origin, spleen enlargement, portal hypertension.
Fringetree bark may be safely used in all liver problems, particularly when they have developed into jaundice. It is a specific remedy for the treatment of cholecystitis and a valuable part of treating gallstones. It aids the liver in general and is often used as part of a wider treatment for the whole body. Through its action of releasing bile it acts as a gentle and effective laxative. It also stumulates the appetite and gastric secretions. Fringetree may also be used in the treatment of intermittent fevers and to strengthen the constitution after chronic debilitating diseases such as glandular fever. The bark may be used as a poultice for healing wounds and skin irritations and inflammations.
Combinations: Fringetree can be combined with Echinacea in Weil’s disease and acute parenchymal disease of the liver. It also combines well with Barberry or Wild Yam for the treatment of liver and gallbladder diseases.
Preparation and Dosages:
Tincture: [Fresh Bark, 1:2, Dry Bark, 1:5, 65% alcohol] 30 to 60 drops.
Cold Infusion: 2 to 4 ounces.
Decoction: Boil 1 teaspoon bark in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day.
Liquid Extract: [1:1 in 25% alcohol] 7 to 10 drops.