Witch-hazel

Silhouette - witch-hazel
  • Latin name: Hamamelis virginiana L.
  • French name: Hamamélis de Virginie
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 19033
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf forms - witch-hazel

Form

  • Deciduous, alternate, simple
  • Irregularly oval, base asymmetrical
  • Texture thin
  • Lower surface hairless
  • Veins straight, parallel, ascending
  • Widely spaced, 5–7 per side

Length

  • 6–15 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface dark green
  • Lower surface lighter

Autumn colour

  • Yellow

Margin

  • Irregularly wavy or coarsely toothed

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - witch-hazel

Form

  • Terminal bud present, flattened, curved
  • Stalked, without scales
  • Densely covered with hairs
  • Lateral buds much smaller
  • Commonly more than 1 bud above a leaf scar

Colour

  • Hairs yellowish-brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig - witch-hazel

Form

  • Slender, hairy, becoming hairless by autumn

Colour

  • Yellowish, becoming brown by autumn

Flowers

  • Flower - witch-hazel

Form

  • 4 strap-like, twisted petals
  • In clusters of 3, in the leaf axils

Length

  • 15–20 mm

Colour

  • Bright yellow

Structure

  • Synoecious

Floral timing

  • September to October

Fruits

  • Fruit capsule ejecting seeds - witch-hazel

Form

  • 2-beaked, woody, hairy
  • Maturing and splitting open in about a year
  • Forcibly eject 2 small, shiny seeds
  • Empty capsules persist on the tree for a year or more

Colour

  • Orange-yellow
  • Seeds black

Structure

  • Capsule

Bark

Form

  • Smooth or slightly scaly
  • Often mottled

Colour

  • Light brown
  • Inner bark reddish-purple

Wood

Uses

  • Bark, twigs, and leaves contain the astringent witch-hazel, used in making skin lotions and eyewashes

Size

Height

  • To 8 m

Diameter

  • To 15 cm

Tree form

  • Silhouette - witch-hazel

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Leaning, crooked

Crown

  • Spreading, irregular

Habitat

Site

  • Moist, shaded
  • As an understory tree and at the forest edge
Photos
  • Witch-hazel
  • Witch-hazel
  • Witch-hazel
  • Witch-hazel
  • Witch-hazel
  • Witch-hazel
  • Witch-hazel
Distribution map
Distribution map - witch-hazel
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