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lilac

lilac, any plant of the genus Syringa, deciduous Old World shrubs or small trees of the family Oleaceae (olive family), widely cultivated as ornamentals. Since colonial days, the common lilac has been in America one of the best loved of the flowering shrubs, meriting its favor by its cone-shaped masses of lavender or white flowers, its fragrance, and its ease of cultivation. Some cities (e.g., Rochester, N.Y.) have lilac festivals. The purple flower clusters are the floral emblem of New Hampshire. From this old-fashioned common lilac (S. vulgaris) and others, many hybrids have been developed with variations in form (such as double flowers) and in color (such as rosy pink and white). These hybrids, which may lack the fragrance of the common lilac, are often called French lilacs because much of the pioneer hybridizing was done in France. The most famous use of the lilac in poetry is Whitman's elegy on Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." The lilac should not be confused with the unrelated mock orange (of the saxifrage family), which is sometimes also called syringa; both plants are sometimes called pipe tree. Lilacs are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Scrophulariales, family Oleaceae.

See D. Wyman, Shrubs and Vines for American Gardens (rev. ed. 1969).

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lilac

li·lac / ˈlīˌläk; -ˌlak; -lək/ • n. a widely cultivated Eurasian shrub or small tree (genus Syringa) of the olive family, that has fragrant violet, pink, or white blossoms. ∎  a pale pinkish-violet color. ORIGIN: early 17th cent.: from obsolete French, via Spanish and Arabic from Persian līlak, variant of nīlak ‘bluish,’ from nīl ‘blue.’

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lilac

lilac shrub Syringa vulgaris. XVII. — F. †lilac (now lilas) — Sp. lilac — Arab. ll̄lak — Pers. lïlak, var. of nīlak bluish, f. nīl blue, indigo.
So named from the bluish tinge of the flowers of some varieties.

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syringa

sy·rin·ga / səˈring/ • n. 1. a plant of the genus Syringa (family Oleaceae), esp. (in gardening) the lilac. 2. inf. another term for mock orange.

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syringa

syringa shrub of the genus Philadelphus. XVII. — modL. syringa, f. Gr. sûrigx, surigg- pipe; first applied to the mock orange from its stems being used for pipe stems, later to the lilac.

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lilac

lilac Any of 20 species of evergreen ornamental shrubs and small trees of the genus Syringa, which bear panicles (pointed clusters) of tiny fragrant white to purple flowers. Height: to 6m (20ft).

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syringa

syringa A name used misleadingly for Philadelphus, especially P. coronarius.

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Syringa

Syringa (lilac; family Oleaceae) A genus of shrubs and small trees with simple, oval, opposite leaves, 4-lobed corollas, capsular fruits, and winged seeds. The panicles of fragrant, lilac-coloured, white, or purple flowers make this a favourite garden shrub. The name ‘syringa’ is sometimes misleadingly applied to Philadelphus (mock orange), which is not related to lilac. There are 25 species, occurring from south-eastern Europe to eastern Asia.

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syringa

syringa: see saxifrage. For the genus Syringa, see lilac.

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lilac

lilac See SYRINGA.

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lilac

lilac •elegiac • Newark • Lubbock •Caradoc, haddock, paddock, shaddock •Marduk • piddock • Norfolk • Suffolk •charlock •hillock, pillock •lilac •ballock, pollack, pollock, rowlock •bullock • hammock •hummock, slummock, stomach •bannock, Zanuck •Kilmarnock • Greenock • monarch •eunuch •arrack, barrack, Baruch, carrack •cassock, hassock •tussock • Taoiseach • mattock •buttock, futtock •havoc • bulwark • wazzock • Isaac

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