Syringa reticulata - Japanese Tree Lilac
Family: Oleaceae

Hear the scientific name

Syringa reticulata is a tree form Lilac with showy, early June, creamy-white inflorescences. Japanese Tree Lilac is properly used as a specimen, entrance-way, or street tree without powdery mildew on its foliage.

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  form2 form Form

-medium-sized ornamental tree or very large ornamental shrub

-maturing at about 25' tall x 20' wide, although larger under optimum conditions

-upright oval growth habit, becoming more rounded with age

-medium growth rate

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green, opposite, ovate, with an acute apex and dull shiny upper surface, and a subtle reticulate branching pattern of the leaf veins near the leaf margin

-autumn color is faded green to yellowish green-brown, and ornamentally poor

Flowers
flowers

-appear in early June

-creamy-white to light-yellow

-attractive and fine-textured 10-12" long pyramidal inflorescences, held well above the fully expanded foliage

-fragrant to malodorous, depending on personal preferences (contrasts with the popular sweet smell of other lilacs)

Fruit
fruit

-immature fruits are lime-green, transitioning to yellowish green or light brown in autumn, noticeable against the darker green foliage but not ornamentally attractive

-winter persistent, brown, ellipsoid, dehiscent capsules occur on large fruiting stalks, with the stalk often persisting into the following spring

Twig
twig

-light brown and stout on young winter stems, becoming shiny gray and lenticel-streaked but remaining smooth on young branches, and very much like the branches of Oriental Cherry (Prunus serrulata)

-stems are constantly forking in a dichotomous pattern, usually topped by twin terminal buds at the end of the growing season

-floral buds are slightly larger than vegetative buds

trunk2 trunk Trunk

-tree form may be either multi-trunked, or single-trunked and limbed up, while the shrub form is multi-trunked and branching widely at its base

-mature trunks are gray, very cherry-like, remaining smooth for a long time with horizontal lenticels, then eventually transitioning to bark with plates and fissures

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Culture

-full sun to partial sun

-best performance occurs in full sun in a moist, well-drained soil of average fertility, but it is highly adaptable to poor soils, compacted soils, various soil pHs, and drought

-propagated by rooted stem cuttings, grafting cultivars onto rootstock, or seeds

-no diseases and pests of ornamental significance (including resistance to powdery mildew, borers, and scales)

-commonly available in the trade

Hardiness

-zones 3 to 7

Origin

-native to Japan

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Assets

-large, showy, creamy-white inflorescences in early June

-shrub form and tree form selections (with the single-leader tree form being quite stately, especially when in flower)

-virtually disease- and pest-free, with no powdery mildew on the foliage

Liabilities

-inflorescences are considered by most to be unpleasantly fragrant

-poor autumn color

Function

-shrub form may be utilized in borders, rows, group plantings, or as deciduous screens

-tree form is found at entranceways, spacious foundations, large raised planters, as a lawn specimen, or as a street tree

Texture

-medium texture in foliage and when bare

-thick density in foliage and when bare (trees have an open to average density when they are young)

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species

Alternates

-trees with showy late spring or early summer inflorescences (Koelreuteria paniculata, Magnolia grandiflora, Magnolia virginiana, etc.)

-good ornamental street trees (all must be tree form) (Acer campestre, Amelanchier, Cornus racemosa, Crataegus x lavallei, Koelreuteria paniculata, Malus, Pyrus calleryana, Viburnum lentago, etc.)

 


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