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Hamamelis virginiana

Witch-hazel

Family Hamamelidaceae


Use
A tea can be made from leaves, and twigs.


Description

Growth Form: small tree or shrub

Leaves: Approximately 8-15cm (3-6in) long, 10-8cm (2-3in.). Wide and elliptical with wavy-teeth, and broadest and waviest beyond midpoint, often with unequal base. Tip can be pointed to blunt.

Leaves (Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University)
Leaves

Flowers (Photo by Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University)
Flowers

Flowers: Roughly 2.5cm (1in)– with four slender and twisted yellow petals. Come into flower in late autumn or winter.

Fruits: Egg-shaped and light brown with 4 curved points at tip. Contain 1-2 black seeds. Mature in August through September.

Buds: Hairy and without scales.

Bark: Light brown. Can be smooth to rough and scaly.

Habitat and Range

Understory of hardwood forests on mesic soils, from Maine south to Northern Florida, and from Wisconsin west to Massachusetts.

Season

The twigs should be harvested in spring. Leaves should be harvested in the summer, and can then be dried for later use.

Fruits (Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University)
Fruits

Bark (Photo by Hannah Ramer)
Bark

Fun Facts

Drying fruit capsules can eject seeds as far as 9m (30ft)!

It was thought that a forked branch of Witch-hazel could be used to divine the location of underground water.

 

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