Mock Orange

Gymnosperm or Angiosperm?

The Philadelphus is an Angiosperm and a Dicot. Dicots have leaves with netted veins, a long tap root, flower parts in 4's or 5's, and seeds with two cotyledons. The vascular cambium of dicots occurs in a ring within the stem.

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Mock orange is an upright, deciduous shrub grown for its very fragrant, creamy white flowers that bloom in early summer. 'Aureus' has golden yellow leaves in spring that turn yellow-green in summer. It's anywhere from six to ten feet tall. Seeds are very small averaging 5,300,000 per pound. Fruit is a small dark brown capsule.


The flowers are white, with four petals and sepals, 1–4 cm diameter, and commonly sweetly scented. The fruit is a small capsule, containing numerous small seeds. The bark is thin and flaky, finely shredding in longitudinal strips.


The wood is strong and hard; the branches were used to make harpoon shafts, bows and arrows, arrow tips for arrows made from the stems of rye grass, digging sticks, pipestems, cradle hoops, snowshoes, and clubs, as well as for breast-plate armor. For arrows, two-year-old growth was gathered in winter. The sticks were bruised around the base with a stone knife and broken off square. The arrows were then fixed with three feathers glued on with pine pitch and lashed with sinew. The largest, oldest branches were selected in making bows. The skin of a bull snake was slipped over the entire bow while the wood was still green and allowed to dry on it. The flowers when put in a basket and rubbed (bruised) with water, lather into a froth. The leaves were then discarded and the froth used for washing the hands and for shampooing the hair.

Native location

North west North America


Lewis mock orange is useful for stream bank stabilization, including soil bioengineering practices, restoration of riparian areas and moist ravines, and erosion control on hillsides and drier rocky slopes. It is used for food for certain butterflies and bees.

How it is pollinated.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

Water Needs.

Mock Orange occurs on well drained, moist sites. Its water needs are moderate.

Life Cycle.


Locally found.

Lithia Park.

Native Mock Orange on Salt Spring Island
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