Common Purple Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Common Purple Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)shrubmeadow

Bloom time: May – June

Additional photos:

General: A non-native garden shrub, brought to Canada from Europe, it can grow up to 4 m high and 7 m wide.

Leaves & Twigs: Heart-shaped leaves are smooth and appear before the flowers bloom.

Flowers & Fruits:

  • Small fragrant flowers (florets) grow in clusters 10-20 cm long.
  • Flowers of common purple lilac can vary in colour (depending on the variety).

Habitat: Lilac bushes grow where they have been planted, such as in parks and gardens; but this introduced plant does not grow successfully in the arctic.

PlantWatch Pointers: If possible, select a lilac bush that has pale to medium purple flower buds. Choose a location at least 10 m away from a building or obstacle, and tag a typical shrub for observation.

To Observe:

  • First bloom: when the first florets are open on the observed shrub (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the florets are open on the observed shrub.
  • Leafing: when the first leaves push out of the bud and unfold completely (3 places).

Distribution Map:

Distribution Map

This species is monitored in:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Common purple lilac was one of the plants most commonly brought to Canada by homesick settlers. Bushes still can be seen thriving near abandoned pioneer homesteads.