The native witch hazel has been blooming for a while. It blooms much earlier and is less showy than it’s cultivated cousins. These photos were taken about a month ago.
Witch hazel is an understory tree, so it thrives in the woods or along the edges of the woods. It prefers the cool shady areas and with too much sun it will produce fewer blooms. These trees are located in the woods to side of our gardens. What a great plant it is since it blooms at this weird time. When the rest of the natural world is preparing for winter it bursts forth in radiant blooms, which will last into December.
Hamamelis virginiana was one of the first New World plants to be adopted for ornamental use by European horticulturists. As early as the mid-17th century, the plant was growing in private botanical collections in London. And it’s been a perennial favorite ever since. Witch-hazel has a rich history of use outside the garden setting. Traditionally, branches of H. virginiana were used as “divining rods” to locate underground sources of water. Also, extracts from the leaves, twigs, and bark were used to reduce inflammation, stop bleeding, and check secretions of the mucous membranes.
Since witch hazel usually blooms after most of the pollinators are gone, it doesn’t often produce seed. I think with the warm weather we’ve had this year, I may be able to find some seeds next year to plant along the edges of our woods.
What native shrubs or trees do you love?Filed under Flowers, Plant Information | Comments (7)