Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser.

Last updated: 11 Apr 2017

Scientific Name

Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser.


Hortensia japonica J.F.Gmel [Unresolved], Hoetensia mutabilis Schneev. [Unresolved], Hortensia nigra Carrière [Unresolved], Hortensia opuloides Lam., Hortensia rosea Desf. [Unresolved], Hortensia speciosa Pers. [Unresolved], Hydrangea azisai Siebold [Unresolved], Hydrangea belzonii Siebold & Zucc. [Unresolved], Hydrangea buergeri Siebold & Zucc. [Unresolved], Hydrangea cyanoclada G.Nicholson [Unresoled], Hydrangea florida Salisb. [Unresolved], Hydrangea hortensia Siebold, Hydrangea hortensis Sm., Hydrangea japonica Siebold [Unresolved], Hydrangea japonica f. hortensia Regel, Hydrangea macrocephala Dippel [Unresolved], Hydrangea macrophylla f. hortensia (Regel) Rehder, Hydrangea macrophylla var. macrophylla, Hydrangea mandshurica Dippel [Unresolved], Hydrangea maritima Haw.-Booth, Hydrangea mutabilis Steud. [Unresolved], Hydrangea nigra Dippel [Unresolved], Hydrangea opuloides (Lam.) K.Koch, Hydrangea otaksa Siebold & Zucc. [Unresolved], Hydrangea sinensis Dippel [Unresolved], Hydrangea sitsitan Siebold [Unresolved], Hydrangea stellata Siebold & Zucc. [Unresolved], Primula mutabilis Lour. [Unresolved], Viburnum macrophyllum Thunb. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bunga tiga bulan [2]
English Hill-of-snow, popo-hau, seven bark, [3] French hydrangea, hortensia, sugar-leaf hydrangea, [4] hydrangea, [5]
China Ba xian hua [4]
Korea Su-guk [2]
Japan Amacha, [2] gaku, gaku-ajisai, ajisai [4].

Geographical Distributions

Hydrangea macrophylla is widely distributed throughout the world as an ornamental. They are native to subtropical and temprate East Asia and Americas. [3][6]

Botanical Description

H. macrophylla is a member of the Saxifragaceae family. It is a shrub that can grow up to 3 m high. [3]

The leaves are large measuring more than 15 cm long, dark green on the upper surface and greyish beneath. Edges are serrated. [3]

The tiny flowers are borne in large clusters being white, rose, deep blue ot greenish-white. The flowers last a long time and will turn brown upon drying. [3]

The fruit is a capsule. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

H. macrophylla is a beautiful ornamental plant which provide colour to the landscape. It is popular amongst house-makers especially gardening enthusiast. It is believed to have antiperiodic, antitussive antimalarial and diuretic properties. The leaves, roots, and flowers considered antimalarial antitussive, and diuretic [7]. The leaves contain a sweet substance called phyllodulcin. In Japan and Korea the leaves are mad into tea and this is used in the treatment of diabetes [2].

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

Flower bud. [3]


Hydrangin is a cyanogenic glycoside. Cyanogenic compounds releases cyanide which inhibits the final step of mitochondrial electron transport chain resulting in rapid cellular energy failure. [3]

Risk management

There has not been any report of poisoning by H. microphylla so far except for a report on occupational contact dermatitis in Australia. With the potential of such poisoning occurring, children should be warned about handling the flower buds. [3]

Poisonous clinical findings

Poisoning occurs usually several hours after ingestion. This is due to the need for the hydrangin to hydrolyse in the gastrointestinal tract before the cyanide ion can be released. [3]

Usual symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy and sweating occurring initially. This is followed by altered mental status, seizure, cardiovascular collapse and multisystem organ failure. In cases of severe poisoning, the victim can go into coma followed by convulsions and cardiovascular collapse. There have been reports of occupation dermatitis amongst nursery workers. [3]


Management is usually symptomatic and supportive. [3]

Aggressive supportive treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy with correction of consequential metabolic acidosis using intravenous sodium bicarbonate. Antidotal therapy for cyanide poisoning is available and should be administered to any patient suspected of cyanide poisoning. Amyl nitrite pearl may be broken and allowed patient to inhale for 30 seconds every minute. Upon establishment of IV line 10 mL of 3% sodium nitrite should be administered intravenously in adults, while in children appropriate pediatric dose should be used. This is followed rapidly by 50 mL of 25% sodium thiosulphate intravenously in adults, or 1.65 mL/kg in children. In case of uncertainty administration of sodium thiosulphate only may be appropriate. [3]

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated on 2012 Mar 23; cited on 2017 Apr 11]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2855720.
  2. Sung CK, Kimura T, But PPH. International collation of traditional and folk medicine: Northeast Asia Part III. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 1998; p. 62.
  3. Nelson LS, Shih RD, Balick MJ. Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. The New York Botanical Garden, 2007; p. 180–181.
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 515-516.
  5. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 26.
  6. Tenenbaum F. Taylor’s encyclopedia of garden plants. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998; p. 200.
  7. Philippine Alternative Medicine. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser. [homepage on the Internet]. No date [updated 2014 Dec; cited 2017 Apr 11]. Available from: http://www.stuartxchange.org/Hydrangea.html.