hy·​dran·​gea | \ hī-ˈdrān-jə How to pronounce hydrangea (audio) \

Definition of hydrangea

: any of a genus (Hydrangea) of mostly shrubs having opposite leaves and showy clusters of usually sterile white, pink, or bluish flowers that is either placed in the saxifrage family or the hydrangea family (Hydrangeaceae)

Examples of hydrangea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web English oak, which symbolizes the strength of love, was there along with scented pelargoniums: garden roses, autumnal hydrangea, sedum, dahlias and scabious in shades of gold, pink and deep burgundy with touches of white to match the Royal Standard. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 19 Sep. 2022 For that, it's sometimes called snowball hydrangea. Sheryl Geerts, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Sep. 2022 Its eggs are laid at the branch tips of different hydrangea species but are commonly seen on Annabelle hydrangeas. Tim Johnson, Chicago Tribune, 9 July 2022 If plants had personalities, Frill Ride hydrangea would be the bubbly extrovert at a summer garden party, exuberantly greeting friends and neighbors with a cheerful burst of color. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Mar. 2022 Jesús Carcamo, 25, left his lucky Dodgers hat there at the base of a wreath of blue roses, white hydrangea and palm-sized white orchids placed by the Hollywood Historic Trust. Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Some flowering shrubs, such as bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) and many kinds of rhododendrons, are only marginally hardy in Chicago and carry their flower buds through the winter. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, 31 Oct. 2020 Due to genetics, a few hydrangea cultivars do not turn blue, even in the right conditions. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 29 June 2022 Leaftier caterpillars taking up residence in your hydrangea? Ariel Cheung, Chicago Tribune, 18 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hydrangea.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hydrangea

circa 1753, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hydrangea

borrowed from New Latin, genus name, from Greek hydr- hydr- + New Latin -angēa, feminine derivative from Greek angeîon "vessel, container" — more at angio-

Note: The genus name dates from linnaeus's Species plantarum, vol. 1 (1753), p. 397. Linnaeus took the name from Jan Frederik Gronovius and John Clayton's Flora Virginica, pars prima (Leiden, 1739), p. 50. Since the 19th century the name Hydrangea, taken to mean "water vessel," is said to refer to the "cup-like form of the seed-capsule" (hence Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, 1899). However, Gronovius, presumably the immediate author of the text, gives no indication of the name's significance. He describes the fruit of Hydrangea arborescens as "a small two-chambered vessel filled with tiny seeds, crowned with two small threads or little horns bent backward" ("… vasculo parvo bicapsulari seminibus minutissimis repleto, duobus parvis filamentis seu corniculis recurvis cornato"). This accords well with pictures of the plant's small seed capsules, though it takes some imagination to see an individual capsule as a water vessel.

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The first known use of hydrangea was circa 1753

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hydrangea blue

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hydrangea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrangea. Accessed 28 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for hydrangea


hy·​dran·​gea | \ hī-ˈdrān-jə How to pronounce hydrangea (audio) \

Medical Definition of hydrangea

1 capitalized : a large genus of widely distributed shrubs and one woody vine (family Saxifragaceae) with opposite leaves and showy clusters of usually sterile white, pink, or bluish flowers
2 : any plant of the genus Hydrangea
3 : the dried rhizome and roots of the wild plant of the genus Hydrangea (H. arborescens) formerly used in pharmacy as a diuretic

More from Merriam-Webster on hydrangea

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hydrangea


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