Witchhazel

This is a genus of flowering plants with 4 species of woody shrubs. They are native to North America, Japan and China. The Witchhazels are generally tall growing deciduous shrubs with alternate leaves. The small yellow or red flowers are ribbon like and borne either in the late winter or autumn depending on the species. They have dehiscent seed that propels itself several feet from the plant when they are ripe.

The term "witch" in the common name is derived from an Olde English word, wice, which refers to the pliant or bendable nature of the stems of the Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) which were used as divining rods. When settlers came to America, they started using the term to refer to Hamamelis shrubs.

 

PGC-S-Hamamelis-vernalis-x-2010-15

Hamamelis x intermedia  
H. japonica Japanese Witchhazel
H. mollis Chinese Witchhazel
H. vernalis vernal Witchhazel
H. virginiana Common Witchhazel

 

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