Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense), also called the Chinese fringe flower, is an ornamental evergreen shrub that produces delicate fringed blossoms in a variety of colors. It grows best in the relatively warm climates of United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9 and prefers partial shade. Loropetalum is a versatile landscape plant that works as a screen, foundation planting or single specimen. This species is relatively nontoxic and noninvasive, making it a good choice for many home gardens.
Chinese fringe flower is a member of the witch hazel family. Like other plants in this group, it contains few substances known to be toxic to humans. The plant does contain a number of tannins. These bitter-tasting chemicals can be poisonous if the plant is ingested in large quantities, but small amounts of both Loropetalum and other witch hazels are unlikely to be harmful.
Loropetalum is considered nontoxic to animals. The Georgia Gardener recommends it as a safe landscape choice for people who have dogs. To keep your specimens in good condition, allow 18 inches between the plant and your property fence to allow your dog to patrol its territory. Loropetalum is a tough species that does not break easily and that lacks thorns or other animal hazards.
While many plants imported from Asia become invasive in North America, Chinese fringe flower is a safe choice for your landscape. The California Invasive Plant Council recommends picking this species over Russian olive, Brazilian peppertree and edible fig. While the fringe flower is a fast grower, it tends to stay where it is planted and is unlikely to spread into the local ecosystem.
This species is a safe choice for humans, pets and the environment. It can potentially harm nearby plants, however. This fast-growing species can reach up to 20 feet high and may shade out smaller plants. Prevent this by pruning the shrub regularly. Specimens planted in the cooler part of Loropetalum's range often die back in winter and are less likely to cause this problem.
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Loropetalum
- Monrovia: Ever Red Fringe Flower
- California Invasive Plant Council: Don't Plant a Pest!
- The Georgia Gardener: Dogs - Landscaping for
- International Journal of Plant Biochemistry: Hydrolysable Tannins From Loropetalum Chinense
- Drugs.com: Witch Hazel
- Right Diagnosis: Plant Poisoning -- Tannin
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images