Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lacecaps & Mopheads

On June 5th, we went to Orto Botanico di Firenze to explore the botanical garden. The first path we walked on was lined with gorgeous hydrangeas. However, there wasn't just the typical hydrangea. There were hydrangeas that didn't look like hydrangeas.

The typical hydrangea is a mophead flower. As the name implies, mophead flowers resemble the heads of mops or pom poms. This hydrangea flower arrangement looks similar to a bulb. The other hydrangeas don't look anything like the typical hydrangea. These hydrangeas are lacecap flowers. Unlike mophead flowers, lacecap flowers are round and flat. Lacecap flowers have small flowers in the center and large flowers surrounding the smaller flowers. Mophead flowers have a spherical arrangement of large flowers whereas lacecap flowers have a plane arrangement of large and small flowers. These two arrangements are characteristic of corymb inflorescence.

Despite their differences in appearance, mophead and lacecap hydrangeas are of the same species: Hydrangea macrophylla normalis (or just Hydrangea macrophylla). Hydrangea macrophylla are deciduous plants native to China and Japan. Of all the species of hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophylla is the most widely grown. They're typically grown for their large flowerheads whose leaves can grow up to 15 cm in length.

I think the lacecap hydrangeas are the prettiest. They aren't as common and they don't have a flower arrangement similar to other common flowers (i.e. rhododendrons).


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