Zoology & Botany

Lilac

Prepare a picture of/book about a Lilac in advance, as well as a sample of Lilac plant and lilac color.

Say: Look at this plant. (Show a picture of a Lilac.) This is a Lilac.

Remember, to be classified as a plant, a living  thing should have multiple cells, grow in soil, have leaves and roots, produce seeds, and produce its own food through photosynthesis. Lilac is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae, native to the Balkan Peninsula, where it grows on rocky hills. This species is widely cultivated as an ornamental and has been naturalized in other parts of Europe as well as much of North America. Depending on the variety, Lilacs grow from 2m to 10m in height. Their most distinctive feature is the mass of delicately-scented blossoms that are produced in the spring. Although each individual flower is small, they grow in clusters to produce an abundant display of blooms. Their colors include white, pink and, of course, lilac. These plants are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves annually. Lilac bark is greenish-brown when young and becomes grayish-brown as it matures. Leaves are heart-shaped, and 2 to 5 inches long. Lilac flowers are fragrant; appear in large panicles at the ends of branches. The Flowers develop into brown, woody capsules that contain flat seeds. Lilacs are pollinated through both biotic and abiotic means. Biotic pollination means that an active pollinator, such as a bee, butterfly or bird, assists the pollen sac in getting from the stamen to the pistil. Abiotic transportation is achieved through wind, rain or other acts of nature. When the pollen sac lands on the stigma of a female flower, a pollen tube grows. The tube travels through the style and into the ovary. Lilacs can be self-pollinated when the plant contains both male and female flowers. If it is near another lilac bush, then it also can be cross-pollinated, which means the pollen sac from one plant lands on the stigma of a flower from another plant. Apart from the beauty and fragrance of the flowers in spring, this plant also had a practical use; its dense shrubbery helped shelter a prairie home from wind. In the city or the country, the lilac hedge is a favorite place for birds because the dense foliage provides good nesting and hiding habitat. The wood of lilac is extremely hard and one of the densest in Europe. The sapwood is typically cream-colored and the heartwood has various shades of brown and purple. Lilac wood has traditionally been used for engraving, musical instruments, knife handles- When drying; the wood has a tendency to be curved as a twisted material, and to split into narrow sticks.

The lilac is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks, because of its attractive, sweet-smelling flowers, which appear in early summer just before many of the roses and other summer flowers come into bloom. Like all plants, by using the energy of sunlight, Lilacs produce oxygen and remove large amounts of carbon dioxide, thus playing the role similar to any living organism's lungs by removing the toxins from the body. Plants assist by filtering the nutrients and removing the toxins in our environment. This process is called photosynthesis.  

Named for the flower of the same name, Lilac is a feminine color with a bit of a maternal feeling. Like lavender, lilac can be a bit nostalgic. It relates to the fantasy world, and a need to escape from the practicalities of life. We need to take care of Lilac and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people and have an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

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