Lewis's Mockorange

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

Common Name: Lewis’s Mockorange[1]

Scientific Name: Philadelphus lewisii

Description: Deciduous, early summer-flowering shrub; arching branches bear racemes of 5-11 cup-shaped, pure white flowers in profusion; finely toothed, bright green foliage

Size: Grows to 10 feet high and wide

Cultural Information: Prefers moderately fertile, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade

USDA Zones: 5 through 8

Historical Notes: Meriwether Lewis first collected specimens of this showy plant on the Kooskoosky River (Clearwater River, Idaho) in 1806, and the botanist Frederick Pursh later named this Philadelphus species after the explorer.

It is native from British Columbia to California and was being cultivated in the Eastern United States by 1823. Also known as syringa, this Mock Orange is the state flower of Idaho.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.

Further Sources