An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Witch Hazel Flowering

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is in flower, one to two weeks early this year, just as last year’s fruit is mature and ready to explode, sending seeds flying.  This shrub may have gotten its name from its association with dowsing, which was once thought to be a form of witchcraft.  (Witch hazel’s branches were once the wood of choice for dowsing rods, whose purpose is to locate water, or “witch” a well.)  The bark, leaves, and twigs of witch hazel are all high in tannins, giving this plant astringent properties.  It has also been used for any number of medicinal purposes, from treating hemorrhoids to laryngitis.

2 responses

  1. That is one funky-lloking flower. I love it!

    September 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

  2. Sometimes the yellow blossoms are visible after most deciduous trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves, including the shrub itself. I’ve always wondered what the ecological strategy of a fall bloom was about, but as a landscape contractor I can tell you it’s a great shrub to incorporate into a scheme (if it fits) for the uniqueness of a bit of color it adds to the world after much of the landscape has gone grey-

    September 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

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