Syringa reticulata (Bl.) Hara

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Syringa reticulata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-04-23.



  • Ligustrum reticulatum Bl.
  • S. amurensis var. japonica (Maxim.) Fr. & Sav.
  • Ligustrina amurensis var. japonica Maxim.
  • S. japonica Decne.


The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Syringa reticulata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-04-23.

A deciduous tree up to 30 ft high, of erect habit, often a shrub; young shoots not downy, but marked with small, round, pale dots. Leaves ovate with a long tapering point, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped at the base; 3 to 8 in. long, about half as wide, and either glabrous or slightly downy beneath, glabrous above; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Flowers cream-coloured, somewhat privet-scented, produced at the end of the branch, usually in a pair of broad pyramidal panicles, 8 to 12 in. long, 6 to 8 in. through. Corolla 14 in. across, the short tube almost hidden in the calyx, which is bell-shaped and scarcely lobed. Seed-vessel 34 in. long, scimitar-shaped, glabrous, blunt at the end. Bot. Mag., t. 7534.

Native of Japan; introduced to the Arnold Arboretum in 1876 and thence to Kew in 1886. Professor Sargent, who saw it wild on the hills of central Hokkaido (Yezo), says that there it is an ungainly, straggling tree, 25 to 30 ft high, with a trunk rarely 12 to 18 in. thick. I saw it flowering in June, 1910, in the Arnold Arboretum and other places near Boston, Mass., and it was the most striking tree then in flower, some being specimens over 30 ft high, of shapely, rather columnar habit, and laden with blossom. In Britain it does not succeed so well and remains more a shrub than a tree, but even here it is very attractive at the end of June.

subsp. amurensis (Rupr.) P.S. Green & M.C. Chang

Ligustrina amurensis var. mandshurica Maxim.
Syringa amurensis Rupr.
Ligustrina amurensis (Rupr.) Rupr
Syringa reticulata var. mandschurica (Maxim.) H. Hara

Of the lilacs now in cultivation which represent the subgenus Ligustrina (or privet-like species), this is the least satisfactory in my experience. It was discovered in Manchuria by Radde, a Russian botanist, in 1857, and like many other shrubs from the same region, its flower-buds are easily excited into premature growth by warm January and February days, and are almost invariably cut off by late frosts. I have never seen a perfect panicle at Kew, although the flowers set freely enough. The species is a sturdy bushy shrub, 6 to 8 ft high, or a small tree. Leaves 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, ovate or oval, usually with a drawn-out apex, the base more or less tapered; stalk about {1/2} in. long. Flowers dull white, not very pleasantly scented, produced during June in panicles which, when perfectly developed, are 4 to 6 in. long, 3 to 4 in. wide; tube of corolla very short.

subsp. pekinensis (Rupr.) P.S. Green & M.C. Chang

Syringa pekinensis Rupr.

Editorial Note

The text below is from Bean, who discussed this taxon as Syringa pekinensis.

JMG, June 2023.

A deciduous small tree of spreading, graceful habit, up to 20 ft high eventually; young shoots glabrous. Leaves ovate, oval, or ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, mostly tapering, sometimes rounded at the base, long and tapering at the apex, quite glabrous on both surfaces; stalk slender, 12 to 34 in. long. Flowers cream-coloured, very densely clustered in numerous loose panicles 3 to 6 in. long, produced in pairs. Seed-vessel 58 to 34 in. long, glabrous, pointed at the end.

Native of the mountains of N. China, where it was discovered by the Abbé David. It was raised at Kew in 1881 from seed sent from Peking by Dr Bretschneider. Botanically allied to S. reticulata, it is very distinct as seen growing. It has much more slender branches, the leaves are smaller, the inflorescence instead of being sturdy, pyramidal, and erect, is smaller and is a loose, rather shapeless panicle; the seed vessel, too, differs in the more pointed apex. It is perfectly hardy, and has grown more quickly at Kew than S. reticulata. It flowers freely towards the end of June.