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Hamamelis virginiana

Hamamelis virginiana L.

Hamamelis macrophylla Pursh

Hamamelis virginiana L. var. henryi Jenne

Hamamelis virginiana L. var. macrophylla (Pursh) Nutt.

Hamamelis virginiana L. var. parvifolia Nutt.

Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel

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
FamilyHamamelidaceaeWitch-hazels
GenusHamamelisWitch-hazel; name means “hooked fruit”
Speciesvirginiana“From viginia”

About plant names...

This variety of witch-hazel is native to eastern North America. “Witch-hazel” suggests a potion crafted by witches, but this is not the case at all. “Witch” derives from “wych-elm” (in turn from wican “to bend”); and “Hazel” derives from hæsel, meaning a bush of the pine family. The soothing lotion by the same name is derived from this plant, though.

Identification: Plants are 9½-26' (3-8 m) tall, rarely up to 39' (12 m), usually somewhat irregular shrubs. Leaves are alternate, 1½-6" (4-16 cm) long × 1-4" (3-11 cm) broad, usually with wavy margins and coarse teeth. Witch-hazels have the unusual property that fruit, flowers and next year’s leaf buds all appear on branches simultaneously. The flowers are unusual in shape and color, comprised of thin wrinkly strap-shaped petals each ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) long, which may be pale- to dark-yellow, orange, or red. They are among the first flowers visible in the spring, appearing in the north while snow is still on the ground. The tan fruits are a two-part (sometimes three-part) capsule like partly fused ovals. Each capsule contains a black glossy seed up to ⅛" (5 mm) long. Seeds are ejected explosively over distances up to 33' (10 m).

Medical: Witch-hazel extract, an aromatic alcoholic solution prepared from the macerated stems and leaves of this plant, is a mild astringent, tightening skin.

Online References:

Hamamelis virginiana on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Hamamelis virginiana at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Hamamelis virginiana on Wikipedia

Hamamelis virginiana at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Hamamelis virginiana on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Hamamelis virginiana at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Hamamelis virginiana on FLORIDATA

Hamamelis virginiana at the University of Florida Environmental Horticulture site

Hamamelis virginiana on eFloras

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/11/2011 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/19/2014 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 2½" (11 × 7.3 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

Spiny witch hazel galls, created by an aphid, Hamamelistes spinosus. · 7/17/2017 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 1½ × 1½" (4.3 × 4.1 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

8/17/2013 · Hopkinton State Park, Hopkinton, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/19/2014 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

7/14/2013 · Ball Hill Trail, Leominster State Forest, Leominster, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 18 Jul 2017.

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Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 2 × 3" (5.9 × 7.8 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

Spiny witch hazel gall, created by an aphid. · 10/11/2011 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

Spiny witch hazel gall, created by an aphid, Hamamelistes spinosus. That's probably one poking out near the base. · 7/17/2017 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 3½" (8.7 × 8.7 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

Young leaves are sometimes red. · 6/2/2014 · Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

9/15/2012 · Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm) ID is uncertain

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

8/4/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 13 × 9" (33 × 22 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel, American Witchhazel, Winterbloom, Witch Hazel)

9/15/2012 · Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Range:

About this map...