If you get a chance, stick your nose in a handful of syringa blossoms and inhale. Our beautiful state flower is in full bloom right now, and I think this is a banner year. The plant was named (botanically) after Meriwether Lewis–Philadelphus lewisii. But it is commonly called after two other plants: oranges–as in ‘Mock Orange’ and lilacs–as in ‘syringa’, which is the genus for lilacs. Ah, the confusion of common names. Syringa is quite widespread along various trails in the foothills, but you are not likely to really notice it until it is blooming. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to experience a raft trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It was late June, and syringa was in full bloom, lining the river banks for mile after mile. It was breathtaking. I have rarely had a more visceral sense of the generosity and beauty of nature: a great choice for our state flower.
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