A friend’s woodland garden in NZ has lots of different types of hydrangeas.
Where did they originate? Here’s a potted history.
Of the 75 species in the genus, most hydrangeas grow naturally in Asian countries like Japan, China, Korea, while there are several species native to the US.
In 1730, North American farmer and plant hunter, John Bartram sent hydrangeas to Europe. He, and his son William, later discovered an oak-leaved native species (Hydrangea Quercifolia) in Georgia.
Back in the 1690’s, Engelbert Kaempfer a German physician and explorer worked for the Dutch East India company in Japan and had discovered mop-head and lace-cap hydrangeas there. Japan, at that time, was closed to trade with the outside world … so it was more than 150 years later that an English botanist Charles Maries was able to take samples of Hydrangea Macrophylla and Hydrangea Serrate to Europe.
Sources of info.
Plants of Japan in Illustrated Books and Prints To be Featured in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library At The New York Botanical Garden October 20, 2007–January 13, 2008
Glyn Church, Hydrangea expert interviewed by BUCKWELL, Carol, “Hello Again, Hydrangeas” in New Zealand Gardener, Auckland, Nov 2017.
CHURCH, Glyn. Hydrangeas. 2001.
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