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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: 'Betsy Ross', "Old Glory', and 'Declaration' Lilacs

Author
item Pooler, Margaret

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 11, 2007
Publication Date: April 23, 2008
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/34862
Citation: Pooler, M.R. 2008. 'Betsy Ross', 'Old Glory', and 'Declaration' lilacs. HortScience. 43(2):544-545.

Interpretive Summary: The U.S. National Arboretum released two new lilac cultivars in 2006 to follow the 2000 release of Syringa ‘Betsy Ross’. The lilacs, ‘Old Glory’ and ‘Declaration’, are the results of long-term ornamental breeding efforts by the Arboretum’s Research Unit. Both plants came from the same controlled hybridization of Syringa ‘Sweet Charity’ x S. x hyacinthiflora ‘Pocahontas’, but have markedly different traits. ‘Old Glory’ was selected for its abundant fragrant bluish-purple flowers, rounded growth habit, and disease tolerant foliage. In the Washington, DC area, it reaches a mature size of approximately 12 feet tall by 13 feet wide, and shows good field tolerance to bacterial pathogens in warmer climates where these organisms are a problem. ‘Declaration’ was selected for its large fragrant striking dark reddish-purple inflorescences and open upright growth habit. In Washington, DC, its mature size is 8.5 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It performs best in traditional cooler lilac-growing regions. Both cultivars have been tested by cooperators throughout the U.S. and are currently being propagated by growers for expected retail availability in 2008.

Technical Abstract: The U.S. National Arboretum’s lilac breeding program was started in the 1970s by the late Don Egolf with the objectives of developing lilacs that were adapted to warmer climates, had good mildew tolerance, and had a showy fragrant floral display. Three new lilacs are described – ‘Betsy Ross’, ‘Old Glory’, and ‘Declaration’. ‘Betsy Ross’ was selected for its fragrant, pure white flowers and adaptation to warmer climates. It has a rounded habit with mature size of 10 feet tall by 13 feet wide. ‘Old Glory’ was selected for its abundant fragrant bluish-purple flowers, rounded growth habit, and disease tolerant foliage. It reaches a mature size of approximately 12 feet tall by 13 feet wide, and shows good field tolerance to bacterial pathogens in warmer climates where these organisms are a problem. ‘Declaration’ was selected for its large fragrant striking dark reddish-purple inflorescences and open upright growth habit. In Washington, DC, its mature size is 8.5 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It performs best in traditional cooler lilac-growing regions.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
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