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Mock Orange
Philadelphus lewisii
About Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) Nurseries Show All Photos Lewis's Mock-orange is a deciduous shrub in the Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea) family native to western North America, from northwestern California in the Sierra Nevada, north to southern British Columbia, and east to Idaho and Montana. It is widespread but not terribly common, usually appearing as an individual plant amongst other species. It was discovered by Meriwether Lewis in 1806. The shrub is rounded and grows to 1.5-3 meters in height. It sends out long stems which are red when new and fade to gray with age, the bark shredding in small flakes. The opposite leaves vary in size across individual plants but they are usually oval, 3-5 centimeters long, smooth or serrated along the edges, and light green in color with a rough texture. The flowers are produced in clusters at the ends of long stems, with four white petals 5-40 millimeters long and numerous yellow stamens. 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. The fruit is a small hard capsule 1 centimeter long with woody, pointed wings, containing many brown 2.5-3 millimeter long seeds.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
4.9 - 12 ft (1.5 - 3.7 m)

Max. Width
6 ft (1.8 m)

Upright, Rounded

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky slopes, canyons, open areas primarily of mountainous regions between 1,000 and 4,000 ft. as a component of foothill woodland or evergreen forest

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
21' - 11310'

Annual Precip. ?
10.2" - 133.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 4.23"

Coldest Month ?
24.6° F - 52.2° F

Hottest Month ?
45.5° F - 76.8° F

Humidity ?
0.21 vpd - 26.55 vpd

Soil Description
well drained soils that are coarse to medium (rich, loamy) textured

Soil Texture
Loam, Loamy Sand

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -10° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Butterflies love the flowers

Butterflies ?


Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Can coppice if plant is quite woody with sparse foliage. This method can significantly improve the appearance of this shrub, but be careful not to cut the roots!

Propagation ?
Seed, cuttings or root sections.  For propagating by seed: 2-3 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Philadelphus lewisii ssp. gordonianus

Common Names
Lewis' Mock Orange, Lewis' Mockorange

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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