Syringa vulgaris

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 Syringa vulgaris subsp. var.  Common lilac, French hybrid lilac
Flowers and leaves of Syringa vulgaris
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
20ft 20ft
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Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 20 ft
Lifespan: perennial
Bloom: early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, mid summer, late summer
Exposure: sun
Features: flowers, fragrance
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 4 to 9
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: red, blue, purple, pink, white
Oleaceae > Syringa vulgaris var. ,

Syringa vulgaris (Lilac or Common Lilac) is a species of Syringa in the olive family Oleaceae, native to the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, where it grows on rocky hills.[1][2][3]

It is a large deciduous shrub or multi-stemmed small tree, growing to 6–7 m high, producing secondary shoots ("suckers") with stem diameters of up to 20 cm from the base or roots, which in the course of decades may produce a small clonal thicket.[4] The bark is grey to grey-brown, smooth on young stems, longitudinally furrowed and flaking on older stems. The leaves are simple, 4–12 cm long and 3–8 cm broad, light green to glaucous, oval to cordate, with pinnate leaf venation, a mucronate apex and an entire margin. They are arranged in opposite pairs or occasionally in whorls of three. The flowers have a tubular base to the corolla 6–10 mm long with an open four-lobed apex 5–8 mm across, usually lilac to mauve, occasionally white. They are arranged in a dense, terminal panicle 8-18 cm long. The fruit is a dry, smooth brown capsule, 1–2 cm long, splitting in two to release the two winged seeds.[1][5]

Common Lilac is a very common ornamental plant in gardens and parks, because of the attractive, sweet smell of its flowers. Most garden plants are cultivars ("French Lilacs")[6] with flowers varying from white to dark lilac; some have double flowers with the stamens replaced by extra petals. The cultivar 'Aurea' has yellowish foliage. The majority of garden cultivars do not exceed 4-5 m tall.[7]

There is no fall color and the seed clusters have no aesthetic appeal.

Common lilac tends to flower profusely in alternate years, a habit that can be improved by deadheading the flower clusters after the color has faded and before seeds, few of which are fertile, form. At the same time twiggy growth on shoots that have flowered more than once or twice can be cut to a strong, outward-growing side shoot.

It is widely naturalised in western and northern Europe.[5] In a sign of its complete naturalization in North America, it has been selected as the state flower of the state of New Hampshire, because it "is symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the Granite State".[8] Additional hardiness, for Canadian gardens, was bred for in a series of S. vulgaris hybrids by Isabella Preston, who introduced many of the later-blooming varieties, whose later-developing flower-buds are better protected from late spring frosts; the Syringa x prestoniae hybrids range primarily in the pink and lavender shades.[9]

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Syringa vulgaris, Linn. Upright shrub or small tree, 20 ft. high: lvs. ovate, truncate or slightly cordate, acuminate, bright green, 2-4 in. long: fls. lilac, blue, purplish, or white, in large panicles. May. S. E. Eu. to Caucasus and Afghanistan; sometimes escaped from gardens in the eastern states.—The most important of the older original varieties are the following: Var. alba, Ait., branches yellowish gray: fls. white; buds yellowish green; blooms a week earlier than the other varieties. Var. caerulea, Ait. Fls. blue, in rather loose panicles. Var. rubra, Loud. Fls. purplish red, in large and rather dense panicles. Here belong also var. marlyensis, Hort., and Charles X. Var. violacea, Ait. Fls. violet-lilac, in rather loose panicles. Var. plena, Hort. With double fls. There are several varieties with variegated lvs., but these are hardly worth cultivating. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases

In late summer, lilacs are attacked by powdery mildew, specifically Erysiphe syringae, one of the Erysiphaceae.[10]




  1. 1.0 1.1 Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  2. Med-Checklist: Syringa vulgaris
  3. Flora Europaea: Syringa vulgaris
  4. In second-growth woodlands of New England, a thicket of lilac may be the first indication of the cellar-hole of a vanished nineteenth-century timber-framed farmhouse.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  6. Between 1876 and 1927, the nurseryman Victor Lemoine of Nancy introduced introduced over 153 named cultivars, many of them classics still in commerce; Lemoine's "French Lilacs" extended the limited color range towards lilac-pink and lilac-blue, and he also selected for deep, saturated hues and double-flowered "sports".
  7. Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  8. New Hampshire Revised Statute Annotated (RSA) 3:5
  9. Chicago Botanic Garden
  10. B. Ing, "An Introduction to British Powdery Mildews", in The Mycologist 5.1 (1990:24-27).

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