HYDRANGEACEAE

January 2007 to present

The genus Hydrangea, also known as Hortensia, is with more than 1,000 cultivars already since centuries a popular ornamental plant but the relationships between the botanical species are poorly known. The genus Hydrangea belongs to the Asterid order Cornales and the number of accepted species varies between 23 and 73, this remarkable range mainly due to disagreement about species concepts and circumscriptions in China. In addition, our recent work based on molecular data demonstrated that the 8 other genera included in the same tribe should also be included in this genus, resulting in a Hydrangea s.l. of more than 150 currently accepted species. Ongoing research projects on Hydrangea combine morphological, anatomical and taxonomical studies based on field observations with innovative phylogenetic and/or biomechanical research and will result in: (1) a better insight in the phylogenetic relationships, speciation and systematics within Hydrangeeae, (2) horticultural application of these insights to develop new cultivars and hybrids, (3) present a starting point to propose trends in the evolution of growth forms within this group, and (4) support in situ and ex situ conservation actions.

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