Syringa vulgaris

Syringa vulgaris

The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris (L., 1753)), is a shrub species belonging to the Oleaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Scrophulariales Order, Oleaceae Family, Oleeae Tribe, Ligustrinae Sub-tribe and then to the Syringa Genus and to the Species S. vulgaris.

Etymology –
The term Syringa comes from Syrinx (Syringa in late Latin), the name of a nymph that was transformed into a reed (from the Greek σῦριγξ sýrinx, a kind of cane used to make wind instruments). The specific epithet vulgaris comes from vúlgus volgo: very common, ordinary for the widespread, banal.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Syringa vulgaris is a plant now widespread and naturalized in the Mediterranean basin, and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant with numerous hybrids and single or double flowered cultivars; in Italy it is common in gardens and vegetable gardens.

Description –
Syringa vulgaris is a strong and rustic shrub plant, which can reach 6 meters in height. It has robust upward branches that carry large, heart-shaped leaves; the flowers are small, with a characteristic lilac color, although there are many varieties with white or purple flowers and are very fragrant, gathered in pyramidal panicles, which bloom in April-May.
In the summer from the flowers are formed cobs with many seeds.

Cultivation –
The common lilac is a plant that prefers sunny locations with medium-textured, acidic or sub-acid soils; it grows well with a humid summer climate, regular fertilizations with organic fertilizers, regular but not excessive irrigation. The plant should be pruned immediately after the spring bloom, to encourage the formation of summer buds that will bring flowers in the following year. Syringa vulgaris can be multiplied by cuttings, layering, by grafting onto subjects obtained from seed, offshoot or by means of root suckers. For the cultivation technique the following sheet can be consulted.

Uses and Traditions –
The common lilac is a plant with an ancient history: it was cultivated by the Arabs and was introduced in the West only from the 16th century. It is obviously very well known for the scent of its sweet and intense flowers that today is unfortunately lost with modern hybridization.
Syringa vulgaris is the most common species of the genus, and is widely cultivated for ornamental use in parks or gardens for the formation of tall hedges, flowering groves, isolated groups.
It is a mellifera plant and the flowering of the period of April, especially in cold climates where there are no other relevant blooms, is very useful for bees and other pollinators to make stocks of nectar and pollen.
In herbal medicine, lilac is an excellent tonic and an anti-rheumatic one. The flowers of the lilac are edible and can be used in the kitchen to prepare some recipes.
The petals are used in the kitchen especially in confectionery, because of the delicate contrast between the lillac color and the white of the glaze.

Preparation Mode –
With the lilac (and usually with all the perfumed petals) you get an excellent syrup that you can use in cocktails or in the preparation of desserts (remember that if you use white or light-colored flowers, the syrup will be little colored: to give color add some blueberries, raspberries or other berries). The flowers can be mixed with sweet or savory dough, such as focaccia, pancake, scones and all those light-colored preparations, in which the delicate lilac of the flowers stand out. Obviously the most classic use is the decoration of cakes, muffins and cupcakes.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, Advice and experience with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.



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