Hydrangea paniculata

Hydrangea paniculata, the panicled hydrangea or limelight hydrangea, is a species of flowering plant in the family Hydrangeaceae native to southern and eastern China, Korea, Japan and Russia (Sakhalin).[1][2] It was first formally described by Philipp Franz von Siebold in 1829.[3]

Hydrangea paniculata
Hydrangea paniculata IMG 6629.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Cornales
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Genus: Hydrangea
H. paniculata
Binomial name
Hydrangea paniculata


It is a deciduous shrub or small tree, 1–5 m (3.3–16.4 ft) tall by 2.5 m (8 ft) broad, growing in sparse forests or thickets in valleys or on mountain slopes.[1]

The leaves are broadly oval, toothed and 7–15 cm (3–6 in) long. In late summer it bears large conical panicles of creamy white fertile flowers, together with pinkish-white sterile florets. Florets may open pale green, grading to white with age, thus creating a pleasing “two-tone” effect.[4]


H. paniculata 'Grandiflora'

In cultivation it is pruned in spring to obtain larger flower heads.[5]

Numerous cultivars have been developed for ornamental use, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit:-[6]

  • ’Big Ben’[7]
  • ’Limelight’ (PBR)[8]
  • ’Phantom’[9]
  • Pink Diamond = ‘Interhydia’[10]
  • Pinky-Winky = ‘Dvppinky’ (PBR)[11]
  • ’Silver Dollar’[12] (suitable for smaller gardens)

Those cultivars marked (PBR) are protected by plant breeders' rights from unauthorised propagation.

Other cultivars include:

  • ‘Praecox,’[13] a particularly early flowering cultivar


Hydrangea paniculata is sometimes smoked as an intoxicant, despite the danger of illness and/or death due to the cyanide[14][unreliable source?] present as cyanogenic glycosides.[15]


Hydrangea is derived from Greek, meaning ‘water vessel’, in reference to the shape of the capsules.[16]

Paniculata means ‘with branched-racemose or cymose inflorescences’, ‘tufted’, ‘paniculate’, or ‘with panicles’. This name is about the flowers of this species.[16]


  1. ^ a b Wei Zhaofen; Bruce Bartholomew. "Hydrangea paniculata". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  2. ^ Hydrangeas for American gardens, by Dirr, Michael. Timber Press, 2004. ISBN 0881926418/ISBN 9780881926415
  3. ^ "Hydrangea paniculata". International Plant Names Index (IPNI). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  5. ^ "Youtube - Gardening tips: pruning Hydrangea paniculata". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 51. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  7. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hydrangea paniculata 'Big Ben'". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  8. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  9. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hydrangea paniculata 'Phantom'". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  10. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hydrangea paniculata Pink Diamond = 'Interhydia'". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  11. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hydrangea paniculata Pinky-Winky = 'Dvppinky' (PBR)". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  12. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Hydrangea paniculata 'Silver Dollar'". Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  13. ^ Pfeiffer, Sue A. (2009). "Early Bloomer: Hydrangea paniculata 'Praecox'" (PDF). Arnoldia. 67 (1): 44. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  14. ^ Erowid Hydrangea Vault
  15. ^ ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
  16. ^ a b Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 206, 289

External linksEdit

  • Friedman, William. "Eminent panicle hydrangeas." Posts from the Collections, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University website, 15 July 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  • Rose, Nancy. "A Parade of Hydrangeas." ARBlog, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University website, 2 July 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2019.