Philadelphus lewisii (Mockorange) is a deciduous shrub native to western North America. 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 pale green, opposite leaves are usually oval and 3-5 cm long and rough in texture. The fragrant white flowers are produced in clusters at the ends of long stems. 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.
Mockorange has many traditional cultural uses for Native Americans. The wood can be 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 is the state flower of Idaho.
- 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
- Fire-resistant: Yes
- Edible: No
- Mature Height: 6-10ft
- Mature Width:4-10ft