Pygmy Fringetree (Chionanthus pygmaeus)
A dwarfed (maximum height 10') relative of the American fringetree, pygmy fringetree is one of the most beautiful of the Florida scrub plants. It occurs in scrubs and turkey oak sandhills on the Lake Wales Ridge and has been reported also from Citrus and Hillsborough Counties. Like the other scrub shrubs, pygmy fringetree sprouts back quickly after fire. Pygmy fringetree blooms in April and May and the sweet fragrance from its delicate white blossoms is a favorite scrub memory. One of the best places to see this scrub beauty is at The Nature Conservancy's Saddle Blanket Lakes Scrub Preserve near Lake Wales. Pygmy fringetree makes an excellent maintenance-free specimen for gardeners in zones 8-10, and is available from several native plant nurseries in central Florida. The species is listed as Endangered by Florida and the USDI.