Lilac is a popular garden plant and these flowers are even commonly used in various beauty products. Whether you want to add colour to your garden or bring nature into your home, lilacs could be just what you need. Here are some interesting lilac facts you may not know.
Related to olive trees
The Oleaceae family includes more than 20 different species. Included are jasmine, ash and olives. There are also more than 1,000 lilac varieties included in this family. Some lilac trees are also included int his family such as the Perking and Japanese tree lilac which can reach a height of over 30 feet.
One of the most interesting lilac facts is the role this flower plays in Greek mythology. This flower is associated to the story of Pan, the god of forests and fields. According to this myth, Pan was in love with Syringa, a nymph. He chased her through the forest one day and she disguised herself by turning into a lilac shrub because she was scared of him. When Pan found the shrub, he used part of it to make the very first panpipe. The name Syringa comes from the Greek word for pipe and this is the reason behind the scientific name for lilac, Syringa.
Every culture has their own traditions and different flowers take on different meanings too. Lilacs bloom early and this is why they are associated with spring and renewal. The Celtics believed that lilacs were magical because of their amazing perfume. During the Victorian age, they were a symbol of old love. Many widows would wear them in honour of their lost husbands. In Russia, it is believed that you can bring wisdom to a baby by holding a lilac sprig over them.
One of the most interesting lilac facts is that they are not only purple in colour. While the general meaning of the flower is associated with renewal, each colour also has a different meaning. White is associated with innocence and purity, purple symbolise spirituality while hints of blue are associated with happiness and tranquillity. Bright magenta lilacs are associated with passion and love. Many people like to combine several colours in their garden and in bouquets. In cut flower arrangements, these flowers can be displayed on their own or paired with other blooms.
From Europe to America
One of the most interesting lilac facts relates to their international popularity. Lilacs were brought over from Europe to America in the 17th century by colonists. While not native to America, they soon became very popular in gardens and homes. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew these shrubs in their gardens. They were also grown in the first American botanical gardens.
While many flowers are known to live for several years, the lilac can live for more than 100 years. These bushes often outlive their homes. So, if you see a lilac bush along the road, this could very easily be the site where a homestead once stood.
Now that you know some of the most interesting lilac facts, you are ready to show off this knowledge the next time somebody admires your lilac bouquet or colourful garden.