The lilac genus comprises about 30 species of deciduous shrubs or small trees with opposite, usually undivided leaves. The genus name - Syringa< - is derived from the Greek word syrinx, a "pipe," and refers to the hollow shoots. Lilacs are native to temperate Asia and southeastern Europe (Everett 1982) and were probably introduced to America before 1700 (Heriteau 1990; Wyman 1986). They are grown primarily as ornamentals because of their large, showy, and often fragrant inflorescences (Rehder 1940). Lilacs are generally hardy and long lived (Everett 1982). At least 3 species are used in shelterbelts and windbreaks. Four species or varieties grown for conservation purposes in the United States are discussed in this chapter (table 1); their heights at maturity and years of first cultivation are also listed (Hoag 1965; Rehder 1940).
Rudolf, Paul O.; Slabaugh, Paul E.; Shaw, Nancy L. 2008. Syringa L.: lilac. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., eds. The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. p. 1083-1086.