Submitted to: Lilacs- Quarterly Journal of the Iternational Lilac Society
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2006
Publication Date: December 1, 2006
Citation: Pooler, M.R. 2006. New lilacs from the U.S. National Arboretum. Lilacs Quarterly Journal 35(4):116-117. Technical Abstract: The 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. Controlled hybridizations using several different species have resulted in selections with various habits, flower colors, and environmental adaptations. Two new lilacs were released in 2006 - ‘Old Glory’ and ‘Declaration’. Both plants came from the same controlled hybridization 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 Cercospora blight and Pseudomonas syringae in warmer climates where these diseases 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.