Index- plants in this Family
Hamamelidaceae / Witch-hazel
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch Hazel is also known as American Witchhazel, Snapping Hazel, Spotted Alder, Striped Alder and Winterbloom.

Plant Type: This is a shrub which can reach a height of 5 Meters (16 feet ) .
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is toothed or lobed.
Flowers: The flowers have 4 Regular Parts. They are yellow. Blooms first appear in mid fall and continue into late fall. The flowers appear after the leaves are shead and as the previous years fruit becomes ripe. The petals are like very small yellow ribbons.
Fruit: Capsule with two to four seeds discharged with enough force to propel them a few meters from the parent plant.
Habitat: Woods. In our area mostly from cool, moist sites.
Range: From the Great Lakes region south to Florida and Texas.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

Ads on this page help pay for this site but if you see one that seems inappropriate here such as one that is counter to the pro environmental theme please let me know which Ad and I will block it.
Report a Bad Ad

© Daniel Reed

Witch, in this case, comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "bend" a name given by early settlers using branches of Which Hazel to "witch" for water or minerals. It was thought that the witching rod would bend down toward the spot where the sought after resource was located. This belief persists to this day and many rural folk still "witch" to locate a spot for a well though not all use this species for the rod.

Medical Uses: Witch Hazel is well know as an astringent extract found in any pharmacy and used to treat inflammation, insect bites, poison ivy and other skin and eye irritations. Native Americans used it similarly. The Cherokee used a tea to treat colds and the bark was an ingredient in other medications. Many other tribes used this plant also to treat various conditions including hemorrhoids, internal bleeding including excessive menstruation, pain and itching.(Hamel/Chiltoskey) (Foster & Duke) (Dobelis)

© Daniel Reed   E-mail      Image use policy

Ads on this page help pay for this site but if you see one that seems inappropriate here such as one that is counter to the pro environmental theme please let me know which Ad and I will block it. Report a Bad Ad

More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves
Witch- hazel



Welcome / Glossary / Books / Links / Feedback / Image use policy - Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, Page updated on 11/9/2009 10:08:58 AM. File date-09-Nov-09
© 1999-2009 Daniel W. Reed