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A deciduous shrub, 4 to 6 ft high, of dense, bushy, rounded habit; young shoots slender, glabrous. Leaves lance-shaped or ovate lance-shaped (rarely three-lobed), with a long tapering apex and a more abruptly tapered base, green and glabrous on both sides, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. wide; stalk 1⁄3 in. long. Flowers of the common lilac shade and fragrance, produced in May from the uppermost buds of the preceding summer’s growth in small, sometimes branching panicles, 2 to 3 in. long and as much wide. Corolla-tube about 1⁄4 in. long, the four spreading lobes rather shorter. Calyx funnel-shaped with four short, pointed lobes. Seed-vessels 1⁄2 in. long, cylindrical. Series Syringa. Bot. Mag., t. 486.
A hybrid of unproved but ancient origin, which has been cultivated from time immemorial in Persia and India and had reached Europe by the early 17th century. It has been suggested that one of its parents may be the rare and little known S. afghanica Schneid., only known from a few collections in the wild and not yet introduced to cultivation.
The Persian lilac is a delightful shrub, both in its neat habit and its fragrant blossom. There is also a white-flowered form of it, cv. ‘Alba’, in cultivation since the 18th century. Both are increased by cuttings of nearly ripe wood.