Idaho State Flower


Idaho State Flower - Mock Orange

Mock Orange

(Philadelphus lewisii)

Adopted on March 2, 1931.

The Syringa, (Philadelphus lewisii,) was designated the state flower of Idaho by the legislature on March 2, 1931. It is a branching shrub with clusters of white, fragrant flowers. The blossoms are similar to the mock orange, have four petals, and the flowers grow at the ends of short, leafy branches.

Idaho State Flower: Syringa

Idaho State Flower - Mock Orange

How did Philadelphus lewisii get the common name "Syringa," which is the scientific name of lilacs? Who knows. Its other common name is Mock Orange (or Meriweather Lewis's Mock Orange). It doesn't even get that name to itself, because Choisya ternata is also called Mock Orange.

Since 1931, this shrub has been the state flower of Idaho, where Granny Artemis is from. It's actually the first state flower for any state, because long before it was officially acknowledged by Idaho's state Senate, it was already incorporated into the state seal (in 1890), and was used as the symbol of Idaho at the 1893 World's Fair held in Chicago. They appear in great numbers along many a highway, especially throughout the northern parts of the state.

A deciduous shrub that grows fast to 6'. It has fragrant white 2 inch flowers in May-July. It's native to Northwestern US It will survive full sun to part shade. It's garden tolerant, very drought tolerant, but showy when happy. It is similar to the lilac in its brancing and the flowers can be very fragrant.

Identification of the Syringa

Idaho State Flower - Mock Orange
  • Leaf: Simple, opposite, deciduous, ovate, 1 to 3 inches long, green above and paler below, margins nearly entire with a few glandular teeth on each side.
  • Flower: Monoecious, perfect, showy, white, solitary or clustered, about 1 inch in diameter, fragrant, appearing in May to June.
  • Fruit: Small (1/4 inch), brown, 4-celled capsules.
  • Twig: Slender, opposite, tan, and widely dichotomous.
  • Bark: Light brown and shreddy.
  • Form: A loosely branched shrub up to 12 feet tall.

Idaho Statutes

The law designating the Syringa as the official Idaho state flower is found in the Idaho Statutes, Title 67, Chapter 45, Section 67-4502

Idaho Statutes TITLE 67
67-4502. STATE FLOWER DESIGNATED. The Syringa (Philadelphus lewisii) is
hereby designated and declared to be the state flower of the state of
Idaho Session Laws, 1931, page 321.

When Emma Edwards started to design Idaho's state seal in 1890, legislative members agreed to identify syringa as their new state's flower. In 1931, along with other accepted symbols, it received statutory recognition.


Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
Section 1. That the Syringa (Philadelphus lewisii) is hereby designated and declared to be the state flower of the State of Idaho.

Approved March 2, 1931.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Syringa

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
    Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Rosales
Family: Hydrangeaceae - Hydrangea family
Genus: Philadelphus L. - mock orange
Species: Philadelphus lewisii Pursh - Lewis' mock orange

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