About 20 species of deciduous shrubs or small trees, rarely evergreen. Leaves opposite, simple, or lobed to compound (pinnate). Flowers are small, 4-lobed corolla with two stamens, in showy terminal or lateral clusters (panicle, thyrses), from white to red to purple, fragrant. Fruit is a tough, 2-valved capsule. Native to eastern Asia and southeastern Europe.
Syringa: from the Greek syrix, a reed or pipe, a reference to the hollow stems.