Seven Bark Hydrangea
Seven Bark is the native hydrangea. The “Annabelle” Hydrangea is very similar but it is a cultivar of the native hydrangea. It can be found in the Eastern United States from New York to Florida and west as far as eastern Oklahoma. It is one of the most cold tolerant hydrangea but is does prefer certain growing conditions. It likes consistent moist soils, can be found under forest canopies near streams. Some people refer to it as Smooth Hydrangea and Wild Hydrangea.
This picture was taken in our lower garden and it is very happy there. The flowers are stunning but they are sterile so the plant uses stolons to spread and colonize. the bark tends to peel off in layers with color variations and that is the origin of the name “Seven Bark”. Flowering in my garden occurs from May to July.
The Cherokee made a tea from the inner bark to treat vomiting in children and also used as a stimulant. They also made a bark poultice as a treatment for swollen muscles and burn. The bark was chewed from stomach troubles and high blood pressure.
The Latin term arborescens means “becoming tree like” since the plant gets woody with age.