Most Beautiful Forest Flowers: Lilacs

Photo By Ellie Burgin

Lilacs are a genus of 12 plant species from the Oleaceae family that originate in Europe, Asia, and North America. The genus has been closely related to Ligustrum (privet), classified with it under subfamily Oleae subtribe Ligustrinae- or olive trees with blue flowers. They are used as food by moth larvae, including copper underwing and scalloped oak moths. Svensson's copper underwing also feeds on them.

One of the most popular flowering shrubs in the United States, these small shrubs bloom in shades of purple and are often used in wedding bouquets. Also known as Syringa, they have large leaves and small, fragrant flowers. They're compact and deciduous trees that can grow up to 8-12 feet tall, forming a dense, rounded shape when mature, and bloom in the months of May and June.

There are three types of Lilacs: American, English, and French. The American Lilac is native to eastern North America and can be found growing wild in eastern and central U.S. states. The English Lilac is from Europe, specifically the United Kingdom. The French Lilac is a hybrid between the American and English Lilacs, and it is the most popular type of Lilac in U.S. gardens. All three are easy to grow and prefer full sun to partial shade. They can be grown in USDA zones 4 through 8 in most soils, including poor ones. However, Lilacs will grow best in central or southern locations.