Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Deciduous shrub, generally small, 2-3(6) ft (0.6-1 m), dense, rounded outline, occasionally upright. Leaves alternate, simple, obovate to oblong, 2.5-6.5 cm long, blue-green to dark green above, pale or glaucous and tomemtose below, margin sometimes entire. May have excellent fall color (yellow to scarlet). Flowers, which are without petals, have a bottle-brush look, 2.5-5 cm long, whitish, the stamens are the showy portions (white stamens and yellow anthers), tend to appear before the foliage.
- Sun or part shade. Adaptable, but best in acid, well-drained, moist, soil, with adequate organic matter.
- Hardy to USDA Zone (4)5 A coastal plain species that is native to North Carolina to southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
A number of cultivars have been selected, including:
- ‘Blue Mist’ - commonly available form, mounded growth habit, excellent bluish summer foliage, holds leaves late, fall color is inferior to that of some other selections.
- ‘Harold Epstein’ - very dwarf form, slow growing, dense, low growing, only 30-40 cm high, spread of about 60 cm; leaves oval, 2.5-6 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, dark green, yellow to orange-red in fall, flowers white, fragrant, 1.5 inch bottlebrush-like in spring. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
- ‘Jane Platt’ - was selected in Portland, Oregon; low growing, 45-60 cm tall in 15 years, long lasting fall color of brilliant orange, red, and yellow.
- ‘Mt. Airy’ - a clone with dark blue-green foliage selected by Michael Dirr (Dirr, 2009) and often offered as a form of F. gardenii or F. major . Some authorities were suspicious that 'Mt. Airy' is a hybrid of the two species. In 2007 Tom Ranney et al., at NC State Univ., reported (South. Nur. Assoc. Confer. Vol. 52) that using chromosome counts and DNA content they confirmed that ‘Mt. Airy’ (pentaploid) is a hybrid between F. gardenii (tetraploid) and F. major (hexaploid). They proposed that such hybrids from this cross be named Fothergilla ×intermedia, and thus Fothergilla ×intermedia 'Mt. Airy'.
- gardenii: after Dr. Alexander Garden (1739-91), a Scottish physician and botanist who lived in South Carolina and is credited with its discovery.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: north side of LaSells Stewart Center.