Syringa vulgaris - L.
Common Lilac
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Syringa vulgaris L. (TSN 32996)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.144583
Element Code: PDOLE0C010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Olive Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Oleaceae Syringa
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Syringa vulgaris
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (17Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arkansas (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Missouri (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ARexotic, CTexotic, IAexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, NBexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
Help
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Help
Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Insignificant
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Long-persisting ornamental shrub, reportedly spreading in cooler areas, but only rarely if at all reported as impacting significant native plants or habitats. (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2001). Although this species sometimes persists it only rarely spreads to new areas - apparently by seed. At least in part because of this, it rarely if ever has significant negative impacts on natural areas. Despite the fact that it is widely planted as an ornamental, it persists and sparingly spreads only in a part of the U.S. mainland where it is cultivated. Individuals and small, scattered clones can be killed with relative ease when removal is desired. (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Insignificant
I-Rank Review Date: 05May2004
Evaluator: Lu, S.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to southeastern Europe-north-central Romania to central Albania and northeastern Greece (Tutin et al. 1972). Native to Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia (GRIN/NPGS 1994).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
Provide feedback on the information presented in this assessment

Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is a non-native that is established outside of cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Present at many old homesites, including those at sites now considered "wildlands" (L. Morse, pers. obs., 2001).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: Little if any impact on ecosystem processes obvious (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2001). So rarely invades new areas that it appears to have little impact (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Insignificant
Comments: Areas with persisting lilac typically have various other understory shrubs present as well (L. Morse, pers. obs., 2001).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Insignificant
Comments: Long-persistent, thus precluding (on a one-on-one basis) replacement of other flora at its sites (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2001).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: Very rarely reported as a problem by natural area managers (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Insignificant
Comments: Generally considered to occur in successional woods at old homesites. At one W. Va. site it is established in otherwise generally native limestone-cliff vegetation that may include small numbers of state-rare if not globally rare plants. (L. Morse, pers. obs., 2001). J. Randall (pers. comm., 2001) knows this species only from old homesteads and other previously developed sites where it has persisted after the development was abandoned; the only negative impacts this species may have in these instances is slowing or halting recovery of native plants in the area.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Found persisting across a large area of the northeastern US and adjacent southeastern Canada but almost exclusively in isolated areas according to Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Voss 1996, Roland and Smith 1969, Rhoads and Block 2000, and Swink and Wilhelm 1994. Scattered reports, from many states, are generally of tiny stands of small numbers of individuals. Total area involved small (Morse, pers. comm., 2001). Widespread but scattered as an escape (Kartesz 1999; L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Insignificant
Comments: Not generally considered a problem by land managers (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001). Rarely reported as invasive, more often merely long-persisting from former cultivation. Widely cultivated, and probably persisting without cultivation in many more counties (and perhaps even a few more states) than formally reported in floristic literature such as Kartesz' 1999 Synthesis.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: Scattered distribution, so in only some TNC ecological regions.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Insignificant
Comments: Few if any habitats where it is actually invasive; persists in a variety of habitats involving old home sites, roadsides, etc. (cf. Rhoads and Block, 2000, with regard to Pennsylvania).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Low significance
Comments: Has been widely planted for many decades in most/all of suitable horticultural range (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2001); mostly persists in areas where planted with some spread by root suckers, rare reports of spread to new areas apparently by seed (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Widely cultivated, occasionally persisting already in almost all of cultivated range, rarely spreading, hardly if ever reproducing (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Ornamental plantings very frequent; widely used horticulturally (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2001); widely planted as an ornamental, often used in parts of the country where it has never been recorded as persisting or spreading, e.g., California, Oregon, Washington (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Insignificant
Comments: Spread beyond mere persistence very slow if at all (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003); I have never seen more than scattered lilac plants (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001)

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Insignificant
Comments: In the US, primarily persisting from old plantings (e.g., at old home sites as forest succession occurs.) One site in W. Va. may have some plants established from seed from nearby plantings, but even there it is not clear that these could not have spread vegetatively in the past. Sometimes present in current conservation lands due to persistence from former cultivation, esp. at abandoned homesites (L. Morse, pers. obs., 2001); lilac "spreads" in Michigan. (Voss 1996); May spread by root suckers and rare instances are reported of spread from seed into new areas (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Moderate significance
Comments: Canada (Kartesz 1999). In a survey-based study White et al. (1993) found that there were occasional reports of lilac persisting in natural habitats in Canada. Persists and spreads sparingly in parts of central and western Europe beyond its native range but it is not truly regarded as invasive in there (Tutin et al. 1972).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: Resprouts readily when cut. Long-persisting, but only very slowly spreading, northward in USA. May be dispersing and establishing by seed as well (Voss 1996).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Insignificant

17. General Management Difficulty:Low significance
Comments: Presumably relatively easy to remove if determined to be a local problem (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2001); cutting and treating the stems with herbicide will generally eliminate this species in the few instances where it is troublesome (J. Randall, pers. comm., 2001).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: Ability to sprout from root fragments suggests repeated (but brief) control efforts needed (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Insignificant
Comments: Minimal management impacts on native species (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Insignificant
Comments: Generally at old home sites, so usually in accessible areas (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).
Authors/Contributors
Help

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1061 pp.

  • Roland, A.E., and E.C. Smith. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, NS.

  • Swink, F., and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region. Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.

  • Swink, F., and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. 922 pp.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • Tutin, T.G., V.H. Heywood, N.A. Burges, D.M. Moore, D.H. Valentine, S.M. Walters, and D.A. Webb. 1972. Flora Europaea. Vol. 3. Diapensiaceae to Myoporaceae. Cambridge University Press, London. 370 pp.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2001. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov/var/apache/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?6438. (Accessed 2004)

  • Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and Univ. Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 622 pp.

  • White, D. J., E. Haber and C. Keddy. 1993. Invasive plants of natural habitats in Canada: An integrated review of wetland and upland species and legislation governing their control. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 121 pp.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.