Smooth Hydrangea. Hydrangea arborescens L.

Figure 97.—Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

Other Common Names

Wild hydrangea, sevenbark.

Habitat And Range

Hydrangea frequents rocky river banks and ravines from the southern part of New York to Florida and westward to Iowa and Missouri being especially abundant in the valley of the Delaware and southward.


Hydrangea is a shrub 5 to 6 feet high with weak twigs, slender leaf stems, and thin leaves, the latter 3 to 6 inches long, oval or heart-shaped, and sharply toothed. The flowers, which are small and greenish white, are produced from June to July in loose, broad clusters. Sometimes the plant will flower a second time early in the fall. The stem has a peculiar tendency to peel off in several successive layers of thin, different-colored bark, hence the name "sevenbark." The root is roughly branched and when fresh is very juicy, but when dry it is very hard and tough.

Part Used

The root, collected in autumn. On account of its toughness when dry the root should be cut in short pieces while fresh and then dried.