Botanical Name

Philadelphus lewisii

Year Adopted

1931

Peak Bloom

May to June

History

Lewisii, the species name of the Syringa, honor Meriwether Lewis (from the Lewis and Clark expedition) who wrote about the plant on his travels.

Fun Fact

Native Americans used its straight and strong branches to make arrows, pipes and combs.

Idaho state flower - The Syringa

Idaho representatives took up the matter of choosing a state flower shortly after their state entered the union. They chose the Syringa, an attractive wildflower that turns Idaho hillsides a snowy white in late springtime with its great clusters of flowers.

Though the Syringa was not officially designated as the Idaho state flower until 1931, it became the Gem State’s floral emblem much earlier. In the 1890s, Syringa was depicted on the Great Seal of the State of Idaho, growing at the feet of a female goddess. Several years later it represented Idaho in a floral display at the 1893 World’s Exposition in Chicago.

The Idaho state flower is a flowering plant that grows between four and eight feet tall. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of its branches. Each has four to five waxy petals and numerous yellow stamens. Idaho’s state flower is known for its strong, sweet fragrance. Reminiscent of the Orange Blossom, the Syringa’s scent earned the wildflower the nickname of “mock orange.”

The Syringa grows from British Columbia to the northern California. In the Boise National Forest, Syringa grows well in moist to semi-moist soil found along streams, dry ravines, rocky areas and canyons. Syringa is at its peak along Idaho’s rivers at the same time that Chinook salmon are migrating upstream.

Growing Information

Soil

Well-drained

Sun

Full Sun/Partial Shade

Zones

3 - 7