"Various in array, now white, Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set With purple spikes pyramidal."
Syringa, - some say from Greek, an Arcadian nymph, or, more properly, here, a pipe. The tubes of the finest Turkish pipes are manufactured from the wood of it; but the true root of the word is to be found in sirinx, its native name in Barbary. Lilac is a Persian word, signifying a flower. All the species are most beautiful flowering shrubs, readily propagated by suckers, which they throw up in abundance. The common Lilac seems to have been introduced before or during the reign of Henry VIII, for in the inventory, taken by the order of Cromwell, of the articles in the gardens of the palace of Non such, are mentioned six Lilacs, - "trees which bear no fruit, but only a pleasant smell." - (Loudon.)
Syringa vulgaris. - The Common Lilac. - This is so well known that it needs no description. The purple variety is found in almost every garden; the white is more scarce. Grown together, they are very beautiful; and, notwithstanding they are old-fashioned, common, and vulgar, with some people, we esteem them as some of our most valuable and ornamental shrubs of the season.
S. Persica. - Persian Lilac. - This species is "far more delicate and pretty than the common Lilacs, both in leaf and blossom. The bunches of flowers are frequently a foot long, and weigh down the tender terminal slender shoots so as to give the plant a very graceful appearance. The white and purple, both beautiful; the Cut-leaved Lilac has interesting and delicate foliage." The Persian Lilac grows about four or five feet high. All the species bloom the last of May and the first of June.
The common Lilacs are suitable for the back of the shrubbery. "This was one of the first plants introduced by our forefathers, and is universally found; often in the front of ancient houses, growing almost to the size of a tree." To make a small tree of it, care must be taken to destroy all the suckers and keep a clean stem. The Persian varieties are suitable for planting in clumps, or in the front of the shrubbery. Some beautiful new varieties have been imported within a few years, producing immense clusters of flowers. There is one variety with double flowers, but it is not an improvement.