Common lilac is native of Europe, introduced and naturalized in the United States; escapes from cultivation form New York to North Dakota. Distinguishing characteristics: Member of the Olive family (Oleaceae). Lilac is an introduced, perennial, deciduous shrub that can grow between 12- 16 feet tall. The leaves are simple, ovate to broadly ovate, and five to twelve centimeters long. The flowers are mostly white, lilac, or purple, pleasantly fragrant in long terminal panicles. The fruit capsules are 1 to 1.5 centimeters long with flat winged seeds. Major Uses: A green dye is retrieved from the flowers and the leaves and a yellow –orange dye is obtained from the twigs. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers and used in perfume. The bark and leaves has been chewed as a treatment for sore mouth. The Common lilac should be planted in areas with good air circulation to reduce problems with powdery mildew.
Information provided by Kevin Stake, 2002.