Hydrangea is a genus of 70–75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea.

First discovered in Japan, the name hydrangea comes from the Greek “hydor,” meaning water, and “angos,” meaning jar or vessel. This roughly translates to “water barrel,” referring to the hydrangea’s need for plenty of water.

There remains some debate over the hydrangea’s symbolism – with some connecting it to vanity and boastfulness (perhaps reflecting its abundance of petals and lavish, rounded shape). Still others suggest it represents anything that’s sincerely heartfelt.

We also found that Hydrangea symbolizes heartfelt gratitude for being understood.  Despite this variation in flower meaning, there appears to be an overwhelming consensus that this 4th wedding anniversary flower possesses enduring grace and beauty.