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Week of Feb. 8-14

This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Rosidae
Order: Rosales
Family: Saxifragaceae
Number of Species: at least 4
Root: Named by Linnaeus for "hydrange", meaning a water vessel. This may be in reference to the cup-shaped seed capsule, or the fact that Hydrangea prefer wetland habitats.

The genus Hydrangea is best known for its widely cultivated garden species. Horticulturists prize these species for their large brightly colored inflorescences. For centuries herbalists have been using the rhizome and root of Hydrangea to ease the pain of dispelling kidney stones. What I find to be most interesting about species in this genus is the pH sensitivity of their flower pigments (anthocyanins). If grown in alkaline soils, the flowers are pink or purplish, while those plants grown in acidic soils produce blue flowers.

Here are some links to images and information concerning the genus Hydrangea:


  1. Grieve, M. (C. F. Leyel, ed.). A Modern Herbal. London, Tiger Books International: 1973.
  2. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  3. Raven, Peter H., Evert, Ray F. and Eichhorn, Susan E. Biology of Plants, fifth edition. New York, Worth Publishers: 1992.

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