Syringa vulgaris L.

common lilac, pipe tree
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Syringa vulgaris
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Syringa vulgaris: Appearance of the shrub in spring

Appearance of the shrub in springBranch with broadly ovate leaves with a cordate baseDouble flowers arranged in a showy raceme of cymesBranch with withered flowers and green (immature) capsules

Syringa: Latinization of "syrigx" (Gr.) = reed, because of the spongy pith in its shoots, which are easy to hollow out

vulgaris, -e: common


Habit: Deciduous shrub or small tree 2-5 m tall.

Leaves: opposite, deciduous, simple, petiolate; blade 4-10 cm long, broadly ovate, with a ± acute apex and usually a cordate base and entire margins, glabrous.

Flowers: hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, hypogynous, very fragrant, arranged in large racemes of cylindrical or pyramidal cymes; calyx gamosepalous, 4-lobed: corolla gamopetalous, 8-12 mm long, white or purple, with a tubular base and 4 terminal lobes; stamens 2, with the base of their filaments fused to the corolla; gynoecium syncarpous, 2-carpellate, with a superior ovary.

Fruit: ellipsoid capsule 1-2 cm long that opens into 2 valves, releasing 2-4 winged seeds.


It flowers in spring; fruits mature at the end of summer.

Geographic origin

Native to SE Europe.


It is highly appreciated and widespread in cultivation as an ornamental because of its beautiful and fragrant flowers. Its essence is used in perfumery.

It is propagated from seeds or softwood cuttings or by dividing clumps.

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