[lahy-luhk, -lahk, -lak]
lilac, any plant of the genus Syringa, deciduous Old World shrubs or small trees of the family Oleaceae (olive family), widely cultivated as ornamentals. Since colonial days, the common lilac has been in America one of the best loved of the flowering shrubs, meriting its favor by its cone-shaped masses of lavender or white flowers, its fragrance, and its ease of cultivation. Some cities (e.g., Rochester, N.Y.) have lilac festivals. The purple flower clusters are the floral emblem of New Hampshire. From this old-fashioned common lilac (S. vulgaris) and others, many hybrids have been developed with variations in form (such as double flowers) and in color (such as rosy pink and white). These hybrids, which may lack the fragrance of the common lilac, are often called French lilacs because much of the pioneer hybridizing was done in France. The most famous use of the lilac in poetry is Whitman's elegy on Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." The lilac should not be confused with the unrelated mock orange (of the saxifrage family), which is sometimes also called syringa; both plants are sometimes called pipe tree. Lilacs are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Scrophulariales, family Oleaceae.

See D. Wyman, Shrubs and Vines for American Gardens (rev. ed. 1969).

The Lilac-crowned Amazon, Amazona finschi, is a parrot endemic to the Pacific slopes of Mexico. Also known as Finsch's Amazon, the parrot is characterized by green plumage, a maroon forehead, and violet-blue crown. Their coloring resembles that of the Red-crowned Amazon Amazona viridigenalis, though the Lilac-crowned Amazon is less vibrant.

In 2006 BirdLife International classified this species as Vulnerable.

The binomial of this bird commemorates the German naturalist and explorer Otto Finsch.

Feral populations

There are feral populations of this bird in several counties in southern California. It has been observed in residential and suburban areas, but also in native coniferous forest in the San Gabriel Mountains.

In captivity

The birds are quite friendly in captivity and pick up quite a vocabulary even though they are not known as talkers. They are on the small side, an average of about 13". They make wonderful companions and are quite the clown. They like water and need frequent showers, about one a week. If they are not showered, they will do it for themselves in their water bowl, which can make quite a mess. While most breeders and pet shops will say they need a medium cage, a large is much better with a play structure on the top as they are active and love to climb.

They also show remarkable intelligence, and will act out if ignored. Large parrots like this are not suited to complete novices, and would best be accommodated by owners who understand that such animals are a life-long commitment, requiring attention not unlike a human child. Care should be taken to avoid feeding the usual assortment of foods to parrots that, while safe for humans, pose toxicity or allergy problems in high doses: onion, avocado, chocolate, high-salt, etc.


  • Database entry includes a range map, a brief justification of why this species is vulnerable, and the criteria used. RangeMap:

External links

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