Monday, June 25, 2012

The Dove in the Garden

The lovely shrub is our hydrangea; it is unusually showy this year. Our particular shrub is Hydrangea macrophylla. The variety is “Taube,” from the German for pigeon or dove. Hydrangea is a Latinized Greek word constructed by Linnaeus meaning “water cup,” referring to its cup-shaped seed pods. Macrophylla translates as “big-leaved.” This plant originates in southeast Japan.

One interesting fact about this type of hydrangea is that the color of its petals depends on whether or not the soil is caustic or acidic and therefore either holds or releases the aluminum in the soil. Our soil is obviously caustic—because the leaves are pink. But Brigitte has another, younger version, taken from the original shrub shown but planted in different soil—and sure enough, its petals are blue! Other names? There are several: Bigleaf Hydrangea, Lacecap Hydrangea, Penny Mac, and Hortensia. There are yet others, but those (e.g., Mophead) do not apply to our cultivar.

The usual aviso: Click images to enlarge; Esc returns to the post.

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