Different Types of Lilacs

By Jonathan Bales , last updated May 14, 2011

Lilacs are extremely versatile shrubs that make a great addition to almost any garden. The lilac genus is comprised of over 20 different species of flowering plants ranging in size from six to 32 feet tall. Lilac bushes can survive in a variety of conditions, but they generally thrive in temperate zones and alkaline soil. Read below for more information on a few of the popular types of lilac bushes.

Common Lilac

The common lilac is a large, deciduous shrub which grows up to 20 feet tall. It has gray bark and broad green leaves. The flowers generally range from lilac to mauve, but occasionally they can be white. Due to its sweet-smelling flowers, the common lilac is very popular in gardens and parks around the country. The common lilac is used to create a variety of different hybrid plants.

Japanese Lilac

The Japanese lilac is a deciduous tree that is native to Asia. Although the Japanese lilac may be considered small for a tree, it is the largest species of lilac on the planet. Thus, it is the only species of lilac that is more commonly used as a small tree than as a shrub. Its flowers are usually off-white and produce a very strong fragrance. It possesses a dry, smooth fruit that splits and releases two winged seeds.

Hungarian Lilac

The Hungarian lilac is a very small deciduous shrub, growing to heights between two and four meters. It is native to central and eastern Europe. The Hungarian lilac's flowers are tubular and dark pink, producing a strong fragrance. Like the Japanese lilac, the Hungarian lilac creates a small fruit that ultimately splits and releases two winged seeds. Unlike some other species of lilacs, the Hungarian lilac is capable of surviving frosts. Thus, it has extended from more temperate regions of Europe to some extreme conditions, such as arctic northern Norway.

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