Hydrangea Quercifolia Ruby Slipper
Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly called oakleaf hydrangea, is an upright, broad-rounded, suckering, 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. It is noted for producing pyramidal panicles of white flowers in summer on exfoliating branches clad with large, 3-7 lobed, oak-like, dark green leaves. 'Ruby Slippers’ (cross between oak leaf hydrangea cultivars 'Snow Queen' and 'Pee Wee') is a compact form that matures to only 3-4' tall and to 3-5' wide, and is noted for its compact size, large upright flower panicles, ruby red mature flowers (hence the cultivar name), mahogany red fall foliage color and exfoliating bark. Upright, elongated, conical flower panicles (to 9" long) of showy, mostly sterile, flowers begin bloom in late spring. Flowers emerge white, but quickly turn pink before finally maturing to ruby red. Distinctive, deeply-lobed, somewhat coarse, deep green, oak-like leaves (to 5” long) turn attractive shades of mahagony-red in autumn. Mature stems exfoliate to reveal a rich brown inner bark which is attractive in winter. 'Ruby Slippers' was introduced into commerce in 2010 by the U. S. National Arboretum.