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Hydrangea macrophylla

Botanical Name

Hydrangea macrophylla  [1]


No documentations



Vernacular Names

Malaysia Bunga tiga bulan
Japan Amacha
Korea Su-guk
English Hydrangea, Hills-of Snow, Hortensia, Popo-Hau, Seven Bark    [1] [3]  



Hydrangea macrophylla is a member of the Saxifragaceae family. It is a shrub that can grow up to 3 m high. The leaves are large measuring more than 15 cm long, dark green on the upper surface and grayish beneath. Edges are serrated. 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. The fruit is a capsule.  [1]


Hydrangea macrophylla is widely distributed throughout the world as an ornamental. They are native to subtropical and temprate East Asia and Americas.  [1] [4]

Plant Use

Hydrangea 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 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] [3]

Toxic Parts

Flower bud


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. [1]

Risk Management

There has not been any report of poisoning by Hydrangea 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. [1]

Clinical Findings

Poisoning occurs usually several hours after ingestion. This is due to the need for they hydrangin to hydrolysed in the gastrointestinal tract before the cynide ion can be released.

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. [1]


Management is usually symptomatic and supportive.

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 10ml of 3% sodium nitrite should be administered intravenously in adults, while in children appropriate pediatric dose should be used. This is followed rapidly by 50ml 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. [1]


1.     Nelson LS., Shih RD., Balick MJ., Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, The New York Botanical Garden, 2007 pg. 180 – 181

2.     Philippines Alternative Medicine ( Accessed on 25th October 2012

3.     Sung CK., Kimura T., But PPH., International Collation of Traditional and Folk Medicine: Northeast Asia Part III, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore 1998, pg. 62

4.     Tenenbaum F., Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Garden Plants Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, 1998  pg. 200

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