Is a Hydrangea Paniculata the same as a Limelight Hydrangea? If not, what are the differences?
Thank you, Lina
The ‘Limelight’ hydrangea is a cultivar of Hydrangea paniculata or panicle hydrangea. The species form of Hydrangea paniculata is rarely encountered these days since almost only the cultivars are in commerce. Other popular cultivars include ‘Phantom’, Pinky Winky®, Quickfire®, ‘Little Lamb’, and Little Lime®.
Is the cultivar of a plant species the same of the species? Yes and no. A cultivar is the result of careful breeding and selection of desirable traits found in the original species; as such, a cultivar retains the essential botanical characteristics of that species to be recognized as belonging to that species, but also exhibits new and different characteristics that makes it more interesting to the plant-purchasing public. A cultivar may be selected for larger flowers, more colourful flowers, more petal-count per flower, longer lasting flowers, earlier or later bloom time, better winter hardiness, better heat tolerance, better draught tolerance, better disease resistance… the list is endless.
In the case of ‘Limelight’ hydrangea, this cultivar is more compact than the species, and produces larger, denser flowering panicles with more of the showy sterile sepals, and the sepals have a chartreuse-lime hue. But this cultivar still shares the same paniculate flowering form, leaf shape and growth habit of Hydrangea paniculata, distinguishing it from a mophead (Hydrangea macrophylla), snowball (H. arborescens), oakleaf (H. quercifolia) or climbing hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris).