FIELD GUIDE TO SHRUBS

Witch-Hazel

Hamamelis virginiana

Family: Hamamelidaceae

Preferred Habitat: moist woods or thickets near streams, roadside ditches, swamps and low meadows

Range: Canada to Georgia, west to Texas

Height: up to 9 meters (30 feet)

Leaves: simple, obovate or elliptic with uneven base and are 5-15 cm long and 4-10 cm wide and have a coarsely toothed margin

Flowers: small clusters of flowers, each 3 cm across, are composed of 1 cm long bright yellow strap-like petals that open in late fall, lasting several weeks, like other witch-hazels, the petals roll up in cold weather and unroll on warm days, blooms from October to December

Fruit: green turning gray woodsy capsule that splits when ripe, forcibly ejecting the black seeds, they take about 12 months to mature

Location spotted: Outside Sachar Building at Brandeis University

Extra information: the properties of the leaves and bark are used as a sedative, tonic, pain killer, and efficient in the treatment of piles, checking for internal and external hemorrhage,