Name

Lilac, Purple

Latin

Syringa

Secret Meaning

First Emotions of Love

Alternative Names:

Facts & Folkore:

The genus name Syringa is derived from Ancient Greek word syrinx meaning "pipe" or "tube" and refers to the hollow branches of S. vulgaris.

The English common name "lilac" is from the French lilac meaning "bluish".

In Greek mythology, the legend of the lilac is mixed with that of the common reed:

Syringa was a Naiad Nymph of the River Ladon in Arkadia (today’s southern Greece). One early morn, she was spied by amorous Pan, god of forests and fields. Enamoured by her beauty and grace, he attempted a seduction. Syringa, frightened, fled his embraces. Pursued by Pan, the chase was observed by the goddess Artemis who, taking pity on the terrified nymph, turned her into hollow water reeds. Pan cut several of these reeds to make the first pan pipe.

When it came for botanists to classify lilac, they chose the derivation of this, Syringa, for their pith-filled stems. A more modern upgrading of the myth claims poor pursued Syringa was turned into the sweetly scented lilac. There are even claims that shepherds made flutes of lilac wood.

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