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Fothergilla gardenii L.

Dwarf fothergilla

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassHamamelidaeWind-pollinated shrubs
OrderHamamelidalesWitch hazels and related plants
GenusFothergillaFor English physician John Fothergill
Speciesgardenii“For the garden”

About plant names...

Fothergilla is for John Fothergill, a physician and gardener. Gardenii doesn't mean "looks good in a garden"—it recognizes Dr. Alexander Garden, a contemporary of Fothergill's for whom the gardenia is also named. Dwarf fothergilla is native to the American southeast.

Identification: This deciduous shrub is 1½-3′ (45-91 cm) tall and 2-4′ (60-121 cm) wide, with crookedly branching stems. It produces numerous white flowerheads that look like bottlebrushes. Each flowerhead is 1-2″ (2.5-5 cm) long and ¾-1″ (1.9-2.5 cm) in diameter. The brushlike filaments are white flower stamens and pale yellow anthers; there are no petals. The flowers smell a bit like honey. Leaves are alternate, 1-3″ (2.5-7.6 cm) long, glossy, dark green or gray-green to blue-green, with prominent veins and shallow lobes or teeth. They become brilliant red, orange, yellow, and pink in the fall. Fruits are incon­spicuous green capsules that turn olive brown.

Online References:

in Paghat's Garden (Fothergilla major 'Mt. Airy') (this is about a cultivated variety of Fothergilla, but it includes an interesting story about the people behind the plants)

The Ohio State University PLANTFacts database


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The Missouri Botanical Garden

Fothergilla parvifolia Kearney


Fothergilla gardenii description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf fothergilla)

5/12/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts

Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf fothergilla)

4/24/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 5 × 3½″ (13 × 9.2 cm)


About this map...