Syringa vulgaris - Common Lilac
Family: Oleaceae

Hear the scientific name

Syringa vulgaris is a common midwestern shrub with showy and highly fragrant May inflorescences. Common Lilac suffers from susceptibility to powdery mildew on the leaves by autumn that detract from its overall appeal.

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  Form

-medium to large shrub

-to 10' tall x 10' wide

-vase shaped to upright oval, becoming spreading with age

-medium growth rate

foliage Foliage

-dark green

-deciduous

-opposite

-narrow ovate to lanceolate

-glabrous, entire, and shiny

-often infested with powdery mildew by autumn

-autumn color green to yellowish green

Flowers
flowers

-most are purple, but white and pink-violet forms exist

-6" erect to pendulous showy inflorescence, often arising in pairs from the terminal buds

-mostly single-flowering forms

-extremely fragrant

Fruit

-winter persistent brown capsules on a fruiting stalk

-not ornamental

Twig
twig

-light brown to brown-gray

-lightly lenticeled

-buds moderately sized and tan

Trunk

-multi-stemmed or multi-trunked

-light brown and slightly furrowed

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Culture

-full sun to partial shade

-adaptable to various soils and moderately stressful conditions

-needs a well-drained site

-moderate availability; B&B or container; much of the mainstream industry is growing species and hybrids that are less susceptible to powdery mildew

Hardiness

-zones 3 to 5, depending on source

Origin

-native to Southern Europe

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Assets

-showy fragrant flowers in mid-May

-cold hardiness

Liabilities

-foliage infested with powdery mildew in late summer and autumn

-poor autumn color; becoming large and spreading with age

-suckering habit

-insect prone

Function

-border, entranceway, or specimen shrub

-in rows or groups where ample space is provided

Texture

-medium in foliage and when bare

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

Alternates

-shrubs with showy mid-spring inflorescences

-shrubs with very fragrant flowers (e.g., Viburnum carlesii)

 


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