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This lilac was introduced by F. N. Meyer from Chihli, N. China, in 1908 to the United States Dept. of Agriculture by means of cuttings. It is a deciduous shrub of dense, compact habit growing up to 5 or 6 ft high, with slightly downy, squarish young shoots. Leaves oval, sometimes inclined to obovate, 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. long, not quite so wide, glabrous except occasionally for down on the veins beneath. Two pairs of veins run from the base of the leaf to the apex parallel with the margins. The violet-purple flowers are produced in May and June, densely packed in panicles up to 4 in. long and 21⁄2 in. wide. Corolla 1⁄2 in. long, with spreading lobes giving it a diameter of over 1⁄4 in. Calyx and flower-stalks either glabrous or slightly downy. Seed-vessel 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, warted. Series Pubescentes.
Meyer’s lilac is only known as a cultivated plant in N. China. It is most closely related to S. pubescens, whose leaves are not generally so tapered at the base, more downy beneath, and have three or more pairs of veins. Mrs McKelvey considered that it may eventually prove to be a selected form of that species.
cv. ‘Palibin’. – The reference-plant of this clone grows on the Rock Garden at Kew. In about 1978, it was then thirty years old and only 4 ft high and 61⁄2 ft across (Peter Green, Bot. Mag., n.s., t.778). In this article Mr Green remarks that ‘Palibin’ is almost certainly the ‘new Corean lilac’ sold by Japanese nurseries under the erroneous name ’S. palibiniana’. It is of course possible that two or more slightly differing clones were sent out.
A dwarf, slow-growing, compact selection of S. meyeri, which has become very popular as a rock garden shrub. It was introduced under the incorrect name of S. palibiniana and more recently has been listed as S. velutina. Both these names are properly synonyms of S. patula (q.v.). This lilac has been given the clonal name ‘Palibin’ (Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 778).