Philadelphus lewisii (Mockorange) is a deciduous shrub native to western North America, from northwestern California in the Sierra Nevada, north to southern British Columbia, and east to Idaho and Montana. It is widespread but not terribly common, usually appearing as an individual plant among other species.
The shrub is rounded and grows to 1.5-3 m in height. It sends out long red stems which fade to gray with age, the bark shredding in small flakes. The opposite leaves vary in size across individual plants but they are usually oval, 3-5 cm long, smooth or serrated along the edges, and light green in color with a rough texture. The flowers are produced in clusters at the ends of long stems, with four white petals 5-40 mm long and numerous yellow stamens. At the height of flowering, the plant is covered in a mass of blossoms. The flowers have a heavy, sweet scent similar to orange blossoms with a hint of pineapple. The fruit is a small hard capsule 1 cm long with woody, pointed wings, containing many brown 2.5-3 mm long seeds.
The plant can be used for numerous purposes. The wood is made into tools, snowshoes, pipes, and furniture. The leaves and bark, which contain saponins, can be mixed in water for use as a mild soap.
Mockorange prefers full sun to partial sun. It is drought-tolerant and will grow in poor soils, and provides a landscape with flashy flowers and a fruity scent. Philadelphus lewisii
- Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
- Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
- Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
- Growth Rate: Fast
- Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
- Edible: No
- Mature Height: 6-10ft
- Mature Width: 4-10ft