Lilac is a flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae.
There are about 25 species of lilacs.
Lilacs are native to woodland and scrub from southeastern Europe to eastern Asia, and widely and commonly cultivated in temperate areas elsewhere.
European colonists first brought over their beloved lilac bushes to North America in the 1750s.
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.
The flowers are produced in spring, each flower being 5 to 10 millimeters (0.20 to 0.39 in) in diameter with a four-lobed corolla, the corolla tube narrow, 5 to 20 millimeters (0.20 to 0.79 in) long; they are monoecious, with fertile stamens and stigma in each flower.
The usual flower color is a shade of purple (often a light purple or lilac), but white, light blue, 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 and beautiful fragrance.
Lilacs have one of the shortest bloom times and only flower for three weeks at the beginning of spring.
The fruit is a dry, brown capsule, splitting in two at maturity to release the two winged seeds.
The common name, lilac, was borrowed from the French and Spanish word of the same name. Similarly, the Arabic word for this flower is “lilak”. The word lilac refers to the light purple color of its flowers.
They are frequently associated with the Easter holiday, which occurs during the peak of its bloom time.
In Russia, holding a sprig of lilac over the newborn would bring wisdom.
The Celtics regarded the lilac as “magical” due to their incredibly intoxicating fragrance.
Lilac is the 8th wedding anniversary flower.
During the Victorian Age, the giving of a lilac was meant to be a reminder of an old love. In fact, widows were often seen wearing lilacs during this period.
In the United States, the lilac is the official state flower of New Hampshire and represents the ‘hardy’ nature of its people.
The Lilac capital of the world is Rochester, New York, home of the annual Lilac Festival.
Lilacs have been a source of inspiration for artists throughout history. Impressionists Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet both have famous works depicting the beauty of lilacs in their paintings.
Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had an affinity for lilacs and grew them in their gardens.
Without the blossoms, the visual appearance of the lilac shrub or tree is stepping into the background. From May to June, new blooming lilac shrubs and trees shine everywhere in the garden.
Because they are fire-retardant, they can be considered for planting near homes that are susceptible to wildfires.
Aromatherapy oil made with lilac flowers is supposed to be good for relaxation and to sweeten up smelly rooms.
Lilacs are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including copper underwing, scalloped oak and Svensson’s copper underwing.