Syringa vulgaris (common lilac – ‘lilac’ deriving from the Persian word for flower) is a species of flowering plant in the olive family, native to the Balkan peninsula of southeastern Europe. Lilacs became very popular and cultivated throughout all of Europe before being brought to America, probably during the early seventeenth century Puritan settlements in New England, and were later known to be a favorite of Founding Fathers Washington and Jefferson. To this day, lilacs are adored for their early blooming and richly colored inflorescences, with their uplifting and clean fragrance — a true symbol of life’s potential for renewal and fresh starts. No other flowering shrub has garnered such admiration, which is why lilac festivals span the country from coast to coast in May. Both Rochester NY and Spokane WA, although on opposite sides of the nation, lay claim to the title of America’s preeminent ‘lilac city’ and hold annual weeklong events and parades to celebrate blossom season.