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Philadelphus lewisii (Lewis' mock orange)
Glase, Terry

Philadelphus lewisii

Philadelphus lewisii Pursh

Lewis' Mock Orange, Mock Orange, California Mock Orange

Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea Family)

Synonym(s): Philadelphus gordonianus, Philadelphus lewisii ssp. gordonianus, Philadelphus lewisii var. angustifolius, Philadelphus lewisii var. ellipticus, Philadelphus lewisii var. gordonianus, Philadelphus lewisii var. helleri, Philadelphus lewisii var. intermedius, Philadelphus lewisii var. oblongifolius, Philadelphus lewisii var. parvifolius, Philadelphus lewisii var. platyphyllus

USDA Symbol: PHLE4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A loosely branched shrub, covered in the spring by many white flowers.

Idaho's state flower; when in full bloom the flowers scent the air with a delightfully sweet fragrance reminiscent of orange blossoms. The genus is named for the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philadelphus, and the species name (and one of its common names) honors the scientist-explorer Meriwether Lewis, who first discovered and collected it during his exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. Indians used its straight stems in making arrows.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: British Columbia to central California; east to western Montana.
Native Habitat: Rocky slopes and open banks in open pine woods and mixed woodland.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium


Warning: Some Phacelia species produce a skin irritation in sensitive people, similar to that of poison oak or poison ivy.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Philadelphus lewisii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Philadelphus lewisii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Philadelphus lewisii


Record Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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