Hamamelis virginiana L.

American Witchhazel, Common Witchhazel

Family: Hamamelidaceae

Genus: Hamamelis

Category: Shrub - Deciduous

Zones: 3 to 8

Size: To 25' tall, but usually seen as a 10 to 15' tall shrub with similar spread

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Loose, open habit, multi-stemmed. Alternate leaves to 6" long, 3.5" wide, with coarsely toothed margins. Grown for autumn color (yellow) and yellow flowers in autumn also, after the leaves drop. Flowers are strap-like with crinkly petals. When seed capsules pop open the seeds are catapulted great distances.


Native from Florida to Nova Scotia.

Published in Sp. Pl. 1: 124 in 1753. Linnaeus makes reference to Catesby's Natural History Appendix, Plate 2.

Synonym Hamamelis macrophylla Pursh.

Branches used by US settlers as divining rods - hence the common name "Witch Hazel".


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner