Syringa: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Lilac" redirects here. For the color, see Lilac (color).
The unrelated Chinaberry (Melia azedarach) and mock-oranges (Philadelphus) are sometimes called "lilac" too.
Syringa vulgaris (Common Lilac) flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Tribe: Oleeae
Genus: Syringa

About 20 species; see text.

Syringa (Lilac) is a genus of about 20–25 species of flowering plants in the olive family (Oleaceae), native to Europe and Asia.[1][2][3][4]

Syringa josikaea

They are deciduous shrubs or small trees, ranging in size from 2–10 m tall, with stems up to 20–30 cm diameter. The leaves are opposite (occasionally in whorls of three) in arrangement, and their shape is simple and heart-shaped to broad lanceolate in most species, but pinnate in a few species (e.g. S. protolaciniata, S. pinnatifolia). The flowers are produced in spring, each flower being 5–10 mm in diameter with a four-lobed corolla, the corolla tube narrow, 5–20 mm long; they are bisexual, with fertile stamens and stigma in each flower. The usual flower colour is a shade of purple (often a light purple or lilac), but white, pale yellow and pink, and even a dark burgundy color are also found. The flowers grow in large panicles, and in several species have a strong fragrance. Flowering varies between mid spring to early summer, depending on the species. The fruit is a dry, brown capsule, splitting in two at maturity to release the two winged seeds.[2][3][4][5]

The genus is most closely related to Ligustrum (privet), classified with it in Oleaceae tribus Oleeae subtribus Ligustrinae.[6]

Lilacs are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Copper Underwing, Scalloped Oak and Svensson's Copper Underwing and Saras.



Syringa microphylla
Lilacs as showcased in the Lilac Celebration held each May at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario
  • Syringa afghanica
  • Syringa emodi - Himalayan Lilac
  • Syringa josikaea
  • Syringa komarowii (syn. S. reflexa)
  • Syringa mairei
  • Syringa microphylla
  • Azadirachta indica -Indian Lilac/neem
  • Syringa meyeri
  • Syringa oblata
  • Syringa pinetorum
  • Syringa pinnatifolia
  • Syringa protolaciniata
  • Syringa pubescens
  • Syringa pubescens subsp. julianae (syn. S. julianae)
  • Syringa pubescens subsp. microphylla (syn. S. microphylla)
  • Syringa pubescens subsp. patula (syn. S. patula)
  • Syringa reticulata (syn. S. pekinensis) - Japanese Tree Lilac
  • Syringa spontanea
  • Syringa sweginzowii
  • Syringa tibetica
  • Syringa tomentella
  • Syringa villosa
  • Syringa vulgaris - Common Lilac
  • Syringa wardii
  • Syringa wolfii
  • Syringa yunnanensis - Yunnan Lilac
  • Syringa × diversifolia (S. oblata × S. pinnatifolia)
  • Syringa × henryi (S. josikaea × S. villosa)
  • Syringa × hyacinthiflora (S. oblata × S. vulgaris)
  • Syringa × josiflexa (S. josikaea × S. komarowii)
  • Syringa × lacinoata (S. protolaciniata × S. vulgaris)
  • Syringa × persica (S. protolaciniata × unknown)
  • Syringa × prestoniae (S. komarowii × S. villosa)
  • Syringa × swegiflexa (S. komarowii × S. sweginzowii)


Cultivation and uses

Syringa vulgaris shrub in flower

Lilacs are popular shrubs in parks and gardens throughout the temperate zone. In addition to the species listed above, several hybrids and numerous cultivars have been developed. The term French lilac is often used to refer to modern double-flowered cultivars, thanks to the work of prolific breeder Victor Lemoine.

A white, double-flowered cultivar

Lilacs flower on old wood, and produce more flowers if unpruned. If pruned, the plant responds by producing fast-growing young vegetative growth with no flowers, in an attempt to restore the removed branches; a pruned lilac often produces few or no flowers for one to five or more years, before the new growth matures sufficiently to start flowering. Unpruned lilacs flower reliably every year. Despite this, a common fallacy holds that lilacs should be pruned regularly. If pruning is required, it should be done right after flowering is finished, before next year's flower buds are formed. Lilacs generally grow better in slightly alkaline soil.

Lilac bushes can be prone to powdery mildew disease, which is caused by poor air circulation.

The wood of lilac is close-grained, diffuse-porous, extremely hard and one of the densest in Europe. The sapwood is typically cream-coloured and the heartwood has various shades of brown and purple. Lilac wood has traditionally been used for engraving, musical instruments, knife handles etc. When drying, the wood has a tendency to be encurved as a twisted material, and to split into narrow sticks. The wood of Common Lilac is even harder than for example that of Syringa josikaea.


The genus name Syringa is derived from syrinx meaning a hollow tube or pipe, and refers to the broad pith in the shoots in some species, easily hollowed out to make reed pipes and flutes in early history.[5][7]

A pale purple colour is generally known as lilac after the flower.


Lilacs symbolize love (see Language of flowers). In Greece, Lebanon, and Cyprus, the lilac is strongly associated with Eastertime because it flowers around that time; it is consequently called paschalia.

Syringa vulgaris is the state flower of New Hampshire, because it "is symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the Granite State" (New Hampshire Revised Statute Annotated (RSA) 3:5). As well it is also the State Flower of Idaho

"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" is a poem written by Walt Whitman as an elegy to Abraham Lincoln.


Numerous locations around North America hold yearly Lilac Festivals, the longest-running of which is the one in Rochester, New York. Rochester's Lilac Festival held at Highland Park has the most varieties of lilacs at any single place, and many of the lilacs were developed in Rochester.

Mackinac Island, in Michigan, celebrates a weeklong lilac festival and Lilac Parade each June.

Spokane, Washington, is known as the "Lilac City", and also holds an annual lilac festival and lilac parade.

Lombard, Illinois is called the "Lilac Village" and has an annual lilac festival and parade in May. The village also contains Lilacia Park, a garden with over 200 varieties of lilacs and over 50 kinds of tulips.

Every May the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts celebrates "Lilac Sunday". The Arboretum shows off its collection of over 422 lilac plants, of 194 different varieties,[8] on Lilac Sunday, the only day of the year picnicking is allowed in the Arboretum.


  1. ^ a b Flora Europaea: Syringa
  2. ^ a b c Flora of China: Syringa
  3. ^ a b c Flora of Pakistan: Syringa
  4. ^ a b c Germplasm Resources Information Network: Syringa
  5. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  6. ^ University of Oxford, Oleaceae information site: New classification of the Oleaceae
  7. ^ Vedel, H., & Lange, J. (1960). Trees and Bushes in Wood and Hedgerow. Metheun & Co. Ltd., London.
  8. ^

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic genus, within family Oleaceae - the lilacs
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • See Wikispecies for the many species


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Oleaceae
Tribus: Oleeae
Genus: Syringa
Species: S. afghanica - S. emodi - S. josikaea - S. komarowii - S. luminifera - S. mairei - S. meyeri - S. nanceiana - S. oblata - S. persica - S. pinetorum - S. pinnatifolia - S. prestoniae - S. protolaciniata - S. pubescens - S. reticulata - S. sweginzowii - S. tomentella - S. villosa - S. vulgaris - S. wardii - S. wolfii - S. yunnanensis


Syringa Mill.

Vernacular names

Česky: Šeřík
Magyar: Orgona
Svenska: Syrensläktet


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