Philadelphus × virginalis
fil-a-DEL-fus X ver-ji-NAH-lis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Deciduous shrub, to 8 ft (2.4 m) high, stiffly upright, current growth with shaggy hairs, bark peeling when old. Leaves opposite, simple, ovate, 4-7 cm long, 2.5-4.5 cm wide, rounded base, short acuminate, medium to dark green above, tomentose below. Flowers white, double, 4-5 cm across, numerous, fragrant; bloom in late spring (May-June).
- Sun, few soil requirements, best in fertile clay soil, easy to grow. Tends to become leggy and open at base with age. Prune immediately after flowering to encourage a more bushy habit, cut old, leggy stems to near ground level. The shrub is very attractive when in flower (10 days or so), much less so during the rest of the year.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 4 The hybrid was developed in 1909 in France by Victor Lemoine (P. ×lemoinei × P. nivalis plenus ?) and introduced as 'Virginal'.
Several cultivars derived from this hybrid are available, however, it appears that some cultivars listed as P. × virginalis may not, in fact, be associated with this group. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening (Huxlely, 1992) lists the following as P. ×virginalis selections, but some authorities do not concur with this designation:
- 'Albatre' - more graceful than 'Virginal', broader and more compact, to 4 ft (1.2 m), 5-7 flowers per group, double, moderate fragrance (introduced by Lemoine in 1912).
- 'Argentine' - to about 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m), leaves broadly ovate, 3-5 cm x 1-2 cm, flowers usually in 3's, densely double, about 30 petals, very fragrant (Lemoine 1913).
- 'Burfordiensis' - a sport of 'Virginal', to 10 ft (3 m) tall, 5-7 flowers per group, flowers about 5 cm wide, fragrant.
- 'Dwarf Minnesota Snowflake' - ('Miniature Snowflake') a branch sport of 'Minnesota Snowflake', compact, dense, upright, 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) tall, flowers double, white, fragrant, flowers profusely. Hardy to USDA Zone 4, introduced by Bailey Nurseries, Minnesota.
- 'Fleur de Meige' - to about 4 ft (1.4 m) tall, flowers semidouble, grouped 5-7, about 4 cm wide, fragrant (Lemoine, ~1915)
- 'Fraicheur' - very large flowers, densely double, milk-white, (Lemoine 1933).
- 'Glacier' - to 5 ft (1.5 m) tall, stiff, leaves small, 2.5-3.5 cm x 1.5-2.5 cm, flowers 2.5 cm wide, densely double, cream-white, in dense clusters, very fragrant, blooms late, (Lemoine 1913).
- 'LeRoy' - similar to 'Virginalis', 3-4 ft tall, bark blackish, later exfoliating, leaves 2.5-5 cm long, flowers double, cream-white, fragrant, in groups of 5-7 (unknown origin, distributed by Cole Nursery, Ohio, about 1954).
- 'Minnesota Snowflake' - to 5 ft (1.5 m), flowers white, densely double, slightly fragrant, 4 cm wide (a seedling of 'Virginalis', introduced by Guy D. Bush, about 1935).
- 'Natchez' - upright, large (to 8-10 ft, 2.4-3 m), flowers pure white, more or less single, slightly fragrant, some consider it one of the finest selections.
- 'Purity' - low shurb, flowers single, 5 cm wide, very fragrant, 3-5 per group.
- 'Pyramidal' - vigorous shrub, flowers semidouble, outer petals nearly circular, about 3 cm wide, fragrant, in groups of 5-7 (Lemoine, 1916).
- 'Savilos' - flowers single to semi-double, cream-white, to 5 cm wide, very fragrant.
- 'Schneesrtum' - branches slightly nodding, flowers pure white, double.