Botanical Name: Hamamelis virginiana
Common Name: Witch Hazel, Common Witch Hazel, Winter Bloom, Spotted-alder, Tobacco-wood, Pistachio, Snappy Hazel, Witch-Elm
Description: Common witch hazel is a Florida native, multi-trunked, rounded shrub or sometimes a small tree that is noted for the fragrant yellow flowers that cover the stems from September through December. If grown as a shrub, it has a natural fountain shape. Its dense summer foliage turns to yellow in the fall, and the fragrant flowers can either appear at the same time with the leaves or after they have dropped. It grows in rich, moist soil in woodlands, usually in partial shade, in East Texas and the Eastern and Central U.S. from Florida to Canada. Witch hazel needs moist, well-drained, acidic soil to thrive, but it is somewhat adaptable to neutral soils. It is at its best in the landscape in a naturalized setting, allowed to develop its irregular, rounded open crown with large crooked branches. The seeds are a food source for birds and other wildlife. Fast grower to 10-15′ tall and wide, so give it plenty of room. The seeds are edible.
Along with having so many amazing uses for humans, witch-hazel also serves as a larval host plant and nectar source for several insects and Lepidoptera (butterflies) and as a nesting site for several bird species. Turkey, grouse and squirrel feed on the dispersed seeds.
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained soil. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall, not including the container.
Interesting Tidbit: 1. Twigs and bark can be distilled to create an extract (“witch-hazel”) used as an astringent and to sooth minor cuts, bruises, burns, and insect bites. 2. Branches from this tree are often cut to make “divining rods” used to “witch” or find sources of underground water, giving it the common name, witch-hazel.
Hardiness Zones 3 – 9