The Q&A Archives: Golden Syringa

Question: Years ago I purchased a flowering shrub, named "Golden Syringa", from a local nursery which has since gone out of business. One year I cut it back too close to the ground and it never came back and I'd love to replace it. I know that the syringa is a lilac but this shrub didn't resemble a traditional lilac in the least and I've looked everywhere for information about it with no luck. It was a rounded, compact shrub that grew to approx. 6-7 feet tall (might have gotten bigger if I had left it alone) with light yellowish/green leaves. The flowers were single, white, approx. 3/4 to 1" wide - they didn't grow in clusters like the typical lilacs. Can you tell me how I can find another one?

Answer: I just learned something new! I've been looking all over for a lilac to fit your description, to no avail. All the plants I read about bear their flowers in clusters, unlike the plant you describe.

Then I consulted the New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture, and discovered that the name 'syringa' is sometimes used as a common name for mock-oranges, of the genus Philadelphus, a group of plants unrelated to true Syringas! (Another good example of how common names can confuse things.)

I bet the plant you had was Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus', or Golden-leaved mock-orange. This compact shrub grows 3-6' tall, with bright golden foliage and bright white, fragrant flowers. It is available from ForestFarm, 541-846-7269, <>

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