Witch Hazel Hamamelis Virginianaor

Witch Hazel Hamamelis Virginianaor

Witch Hazel Hamamelis Virginiana

1–2 cm (1⁄2–3⁄4 in) long and four short stamens, and grow in clusters; flowering begins in about mid-fall and continues until late fall. The flower calyx is deeply four-parted, very downy, orange brown within, imbricate in bud, persistent, cohering with the base of the ovary. Two or three bractlets appear at base. The fruit is a hard woody capsule 10–14 mm (0.39–0.55 in) long, which splits explosively at the apex at maturity one year after pollination, ejecting the two shiny black seeds up to 10 m (33 ft) distant from the parent plant. It can be distinguished from the related Hamamelis vernalis by its flowering in fall, not winter.


Soil: Hamamelis are easy shrubs to grow and should do well in most gardens, except those that are on shallow, chalk soil. The ideal is an acid to neutral soil (a pH of between 4.5 and 6.5) that is well drained, although I know gardens with a higher pH that have magnificent specimens of Hamamelis mollis. If they become chlorotic because of a high pH, treat them with chelated iron. (Chlorosis is a condition where the plant produces insufficient chlorophyll, resulting in yellow leaves.) In small gardens, consider growing Hamamelis in pots, which will severely restrict the size they will reach. Choose a pot at least 50cm in diameter and use a John Innes or other soil-based ericaceous compost. Keep the pot well watered during the summer and stand on pot feet so that water can drain away during the winter. Most Hamamelis cultivars are grafted on to a vigorous rootstock that will produce suckers if planted too deeply. Try not to bury the graft joint (the swollen part of the stem near the base of the plant).

Witch-Hazel is a native deciduous shrub or small tree that may grow 15 to 20 feet tall. Found growing along woodland margins and stream banks in the eastern part of North America from Canada down to Mexico. This woody ornamental shrub flowers anywhere from late fall to late winter with cheery yellow spider-like blooms that brighten dreary winter landscapes. The genus name Hamamelis comes from the Greek word hama for at the same time and melon which means fruit which refers to the fact that the plant can have both flowers and fruits appear at the same time, a somewhat rare feature. The species name virginiana means the plant is from Virgina.In the understory of deciduous woods, while the viburnums and ilexes have already offered fruit to hungry birds, and chipmunks and squirrels have carried away all the hazelnuts from Corylus americana and C. spicata, witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) finally comes into bloom. Witch-hazel is like a metronome throughout autumn; its long-blooming, spidery yellow flowers mark the shorter days and longer, colder nights, ticking off the flocks of migratory birds, the lighter mammalian traffic, the different pace of winter’s approach. And not only does witch-hazel flummox the landscape with its tardy cool-weather blossoms, but, almost uniquely it holds buds, flowers and fruit simultaneously. (Source: wildseedproject.net)


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