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Hydrangea quercifolia

This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
Common Name(s):
Oakleaf hydrangea
Snow Queen , Snowflake , Harmony , Pee Wee, Sykes Dwarf, Alice, Little Honey (golden foliage), Munchkin (semi-dwarf), Ruby Slippers (semi-dwarf)
Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs

Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly called oak leaf hydrangea, is an upright, broad-rounded, suckering, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows 4-6' (less frequently to 8') tall. It is native to bluffs, moist woods, ravines and stream banks from Georgia to Florida to Louisiana. 

Specific epithet is in reference to the leaves that look like those of Quercus (oak).

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:   The Oakleaf hydrangea is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  Its flowers are attractive to butterflies and other insects.  Songbirds eat the seeds.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Seed: Capsule

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: This plant has some susceptibility to leaf blight and powdery mildew. Aphids and spider mites are occasional visitors.

Deciduous shrubs; leaves opposite, simple, stalked, toothed and sometimes lobed; flowers in terminal, round or umbrella-shaped clusters, white, pink, or blue, 4- 5-parted, the sterile flowers (around the margin or the entire cluster) are much enlarged.
4-8 ft.
The Oakleaf hydrangea is clad with dark green, large, opposite, simple, bold, leathery 3-7 lobed, oak-like leaves. The leaves which are fuzzy when young are 3-8 inches long. Fall colors are wine, orange, mahogany.
The Oakleaf hydrangea is noted for producing pyramidal 4-12" erect panicles of creamy white flowers in summer on exfoliating branches. The fragrant flowers fade to pink, then tan.
5 to 9
The Oakleaf hydrangea is easily grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It thrives in moist soils, and appreciates a summer mulch which helps retain soil moisture. Bloom occurs on old wood. Prune if needed immediately after flowering (little pruning is usually needed). Winter damaged stems may be pruned in early spring. Plants should be given a sheltered location and winter protection (e.g., mulch, burlap wrap) in USDA Zone 5, particularly when not fully established. Plants can lose significant numbers of flower buds or die to the ground in harsh winters (temperatures below -10 degrees F), thus respectively impairing or totally destroying the bloom for the coming year.
Upright, irregular, rounded, multi-stemmed shrub with limited branching; stoloniferous; forms colonies
Sun to partial shade; moist, well drained soil
White flowers fade to pink then tan; good for drying
Poison Part:
Bark, leaves, flower buds.
Poison Delivery Mode:
Nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating.
Toxic Principle:
Hydrangin, a cyanogenic glycoside.
Found in:
Houseplant or interiorscape; landscape as woody shrub; forest or natural area as native shrub.
3-8 ft.
songbirds, dried flower, deciduous, low maintenance, drought tolerant, cut flower, play, playground, hedge, fragrant, good fall, butterflies, accent plant, specimen plant, winter interest, children’s garden, showy

NCCES plant id: 488

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' H. quercifolia 'Snowflake'
Photo by Kingsbrae Garden, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen' H. quercifolia 'Snow Queen'
Photo by Henryr10, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea quercifolia
Photo by Chris Kreussling, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea quercifolia fall color
Photo by Henryr10, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea quercifolia
K M, CC BY - 2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea quercifolia
Jane, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea quercifolia
Proteinbiochemist, CC BY-NC-2.0
Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea quercifolia
James M, CC BY-NC-2.0