Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice'
Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly called oakleaf 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. 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. Genus name comes from hydor meaning water and aggeion meaning vessel in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit. Specific epithet is in reference to the leaves that look like those of Quercus (oak). 'Alice' was introduced into commerce by Michael Dirr through his Georgia Plant Introduction Program. It is an upright, stoloniferous, deciduous shrub with a broad rounded habit which typically grows 5-8' tall and as wide (less frequently to 12' tall in optimum growing conditions). It is most noted for its large, arching flower panicles (10-14" long), its usually disease-free foliage and its superior fall color. Large pyramidal flower panicles feature mostly sterile white flowers in June which bloom for 6-8 weeks, gradually fading to pink and then brown by late summer. Distinctive, deeply-lobed, somewhat coarse, deep green, oak-like leaves (to 8" long) turn attractive shades of bronze, maroon and purple in autumn. Mature stems exfoliate to reveal a rich brown inner bark which is attractive in winter.