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LILAC

Syringa spp.

Syringa spp. of the family Oleaceae, the olive family. The most commonly seen name is Syringa vulgaris ("common" lilac).

There are reportedly over 1,000 varieties of this bush and at least 500 of them can all be seen in one place in Rochester, NY. Other reports state that there are about 20 species, so perhaps the 1,000+ varieties are not separate species. Ya got me, but since they are all bushes, this species is of little interest to woodworkers.

Other common names include persian lilac and chinaberry but the name chinaberry is also used commonly for an unrelated species and thus has its own page on this site.

In addition to the Syringa species, there are at least 20 more species from a dozen different genera that have "lilac" as all or part of one or more of their common names. Some of these overlap with "myrtle" names.

I have it anecdotally (from correspondent Jim Rieger) that purple and purple-streaked lilac wood comes from plants with purple flowers whereas plants with white flowers don't have purple in the wood.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of lilac / Syringa vulgaris --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Korean lilac / Syringa reticulata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Korean lilac / Syringa reticulata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


a small piece ready to be turned and a halved section of a similar piece showing the pith. These pics were provided by Iain Rankin, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Iain pointed out that these pics were unlike the rest of the pics on this page, but like him, I have found small lilac plants with exactly this color/grain.


a small piece contributed to the site by Iain Rankin (see above) and photographed by me.

NOT A RAW WOOD COLOR
not exactly "my" samples, since these were sent to me by a correspondent, however, he later very kindly send along a couple of slices from the chunk and they are directly below. Common name used for these was lilac.


As you can see from my pics, his pics (directly above) seem to emphasize the red far too much, but that's because there was a sealant on the wood.

web pics:


lilac pic contributed by Sean Winger. Why this and the other "lilac" sample are so radically different, I have no idea, but it probably has something to do with the fact that there are over 1,000 varieties. :-).


Persian lilac


purple lilac log half


purple lilac planks


purple lilac pen blanks and end grain


pens


bowl