Syringa vulgaris


Lilac is a popular garden plant which was introduced from the mountains of south-east Europe in the 16th century and is now sometimes found in hedgerows and woodland edges. It flowers in spring (around May and June) and is commonly used as an ornamental plant in gardens for both its delicately coloured flower spikes and its lovely fragrance.

How to identify

Lilac is recognisable by its glossy, heart-shaped leaves, smooth bark and its spikes of pale pinky-purple flowers which have a sweet smell.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Many ornamental shrubs and hedges in our gardens provide vital food and shelter for a range of wildlife including butterflies, birds and small mammals. To encourage wildlife into your garden, try planting hedges of native species. But if you do prefer some non-native varieties, be careful when you throw away cuttings - species can easily escape into surrounding habitats and can cause problems for local wildlife. To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Syringa vulgaris
Trees and shrubs
Height: up to 6m but often smaller
Conservation status
Introduced species.