Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) in the Witch Hazels Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Witch Hazel
Give a thumbs up American Witch Hazel
Give a thumbs up Common Witch Hazel

Botanical names:
Hamamelis virginiana Accepted
Hamamelis macrophylla Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 20 to 30 feet
Plant Spread: 20 to 25 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Other: Bright clear yellow leaves in the fall
Fruit: Pops open explosively when ripe
Fruiting Time: Summer
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Shade Tree
Flowering Tree
Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Bark
Stem
Leaves
Seeds or Nuts
Eating Methods: Tea
Cooked
Propagation: Other methods: Layering
Other: Suckers
Pollinators: Flies
Bees
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs repotting every 2 to 3 years

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Hamamelis virginiana and Other Witch HazelsHamamelis virginiana and Other Witch Hazels
November 23, 2014

Hamamelis virginiana is a most remarkable plant native to north America. It is also known as common or American witch hazel. It is always in use as a true medicinal plant and it is a plant of great ornamental beauty. Hamamelis vernalis, or the Ozark Witch Hazel, is native to Central America. Hamamelis ovalis, or Leonard's Witch Hazel, was only found in 2004 and although an American native is new to science.

(Full article31 comments)
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Comments:
Posted by wildflowers (North East Texas - Zone 7b) on Aug 28, 2014 3:18 PM

H. virginiana is a deciduous tree native to eastern Texas and other parts of North America. The leaves look much like those of the hazelnut tree. One old name for the tree is "snapping hazelnut" because the ripe seeds will snap and shoot a good distance. The forked twigs of Witch Hazel are made into "divining rods" in search of water. Distilled witch hazel is used as an astringent cleanser that is very gentle on the skin. I had a neighbor in her 70's that attributed the daily use of witch hazel to her beautiful complexion and youthful glow. Excuse me while I go dig that bottle out of the cupboard!

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 4, 2018 9:53 AM

Common Witchhazel is a high quality large shrub, that sometimes can be a small multi-trunk tree. It is native from Nova Scotia and southeast Canada, much of New England and New York down into northern Florida to east Texas & Oklahoma to northern Wisconsin & lower Michigan in upland mesic woods or along woods. The leaves get to 6 inches long. It has nice smooth light gray to brown-gray bark. The small yellow flowers with strap-like petals are about 1/2 to 1 inch wide in clusters of 3 bloom from late September to early December. They don't become conspicuous until the golden yellow autumn foliage falls. It grows about 1 to 1.5 feet/year and lives about 100 to 200 years. It bears a dry, brown fruit of a fuzzy, two beaked woody capsule about 3/4 inches long that is present all year long. It is somewhat difficult to transplant because of developing deep, course lateral roots, but is best moved in spring B&B. Witchazels need a good quality soil from sandy to silty to good clay, but not for heavy or compacted clay soils. It is best to keep out of strong, dry windy sites as it does not tolerate strong drought well. Many nurseries sell some of this species. I only find a very few in the average homeowner's yard, but landscape designers and architects love to use some in estates, parks, campuses, office parks, and various other public places. I've see it growing wild in the woods of southeast Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and southwest Michigan. It is a good shrub that should be used more. In recent times, the Chinese-Japanese Hybrid Witchazel has been used a lot instead because the Asian species has showier flowers in yellow, orange, or red. I still prefer the American species.

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Plant Events from our members
KelliW On January 25, 2020 Seeds sown
wintersown outdoors in a jug, zone 6b
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