A deciduous shrub to 2 m tall. Leaves more or less lanceolate, to about 6 cm long, rarely pinnate or 3-lobed, hairless. Flowers in broad clusters to about 5 cm long, tube about 6 mm long, mostly lilac, fragrant; spring.
An ancient hybrid that is of uncertain origin, possibly S. laciniata × S. ?protolacinaiata.
Cultivars in a range of colours.
One of the few lilacs with occasionally dissected (mostly 3-lobed) leaves.
Other lilacs with dissected (not pinnate) leaves include the following:
S. protolaciniata P.S.Green & M.-C. Chang, occasionally cultivated [S. afghanica Schneid.];
S. afghanica, a true species but the name incorrectly applied - plants introduced to cultivation from Afghanistan are best referred to S. protolaciniata 'Kabul' (see Green 1989);
S. ×laciniata Mill., Cut Leaf Lilac, which is occasionally available, probably has the parents S. protolaciniata and S. vulgaris - S. protolaciniata can generally be distinguished by its blunter leaf tips and entire leaves on the flowering branches;
S. ×diversifolia Rehder, a hybrid of S. oblata var. oblata and S. pinnatifolia raised at the Arnold Arboretum, USA, in 1929 with white, fragrant flowers.
Source: (2002). Oleaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.