Tricolour Hortensia ('Hydrangea') Bright & Beautiful
"Autumn In My Garden" photo series (November 2011)
The Hydrangea is a flowering plant, also called Hortensia native to southern and eastern Asia as well as Americas. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 metres by climbing up trees. Hortensia flowers are produced from early spring to late fall; they grow in flowerheads at the ends of the stems. Most species have white flowers, but they also can be blue, red, pink, light purple, or dark purple. Hydrangea's color is affected by the pH factor of the soil, which can be taken up into hyperaccumulating plants: blue hydrangeas require a highly acid soil (pH 4.5 - 5.0), pink hydrangeas are produced in a neutral or slightly acid soil (pH 6.5 - 7.5); purple hydrangeas in the pH 5.5 - 6.0 range.
Hydrangeas are popular ornamental plants, grown for their large and beautiful flowerheads, with Hydrangea macrophylla being by far the most widely grown with over 600 named cultivars. They are moderately toxic if eaten, with all parts of the plant containing cyanide. However, herbal teas are also made from Hydrangea serrata: Korean tea, called sugukcha (수국차) or ilsulcha, as well as Japanese sweet tea, ama-cha used for kan-butsu-e (the Buddha bathing ceremony) on April 8 every year — the day thought to be Buddha's birthday in Japan. Ama-cha is poured over a statue of Buddha in the ceremony and served to worshippers. The pink hydrangea, symbol of love, has risen in popularity all over the world and especially in Asia.