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N. Walker

Smooth Hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens, is a deciduous shrub that grows in most of eastern U.S. It is similar to Oakleaf Hydrangea, differing mainly in leaf shape. Smooth Hydrangea has ovate leaves and a slightly smaller flower head. Like Oakleaf Hydrangea, the flower heads have two types of flowers, the large white rays and smaller inner green flowers that develop the seeds. The flowers are fragrant. There are cultivars of this plant that are widely grown in gardens. The Grandiflora cultivar produces large white flowers all summer. Smooth Hydrangea is found on the Monte Sano slopes and other wooded areas. It is growing along the side of the closed portion of Bankhead Parkway and also in DeSoto State Park. It is especially abundant along upper Mountain Brook stream bed.