HORTENSE de BEAUHARNAIS

DAUGHTER OF AN EMPRESS
QUEEN OF HOLLAND
MOTHER OF AN EMPEROR

dinsdag 11 mei 2010

Hydrangeas


Hydrangeas are called hortensias in French, and I often read that they were so named by Empress Joséphine in honor of her daugher Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of the Netherlands. Joséphine was indeed a passionate botanist and cultivated hydrangeas in her gardens of Malmaison.

But the Hortense connection, romantic as it sounds, is in doubt. Hydrangeas were discovered in China by the French physician and naturalist Philibert Commerson. He introduced them to the King’s Garden at l’Ile Maurice (Mauritius) in 1768 under the name Hortensia opuliodes, and did not reach continental France until years later. Hortense de Beauharnais was born in 1783…

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