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Hamamelis virginiana

Common Name: Witch Hazel
Family: Hamamelidaceae


Description:  A large shrub with a rounded shape and distinct spider like flowers.
Leaves: 
Long egg shaped or oval shaped leaves with wavy-toothed margins. They can be bright to dark green in color. New leaves have a reddish brown coloring to them. In the fall the leaves turn a brilliant yellow.
Flowers:
The very distinctive looking flowers have four long narrow yellow petals. They produce a sweet fragrance and grow in clusters. They blooms in late fall, from October to November, after the foliage has dropped.
Seeds: 
The large capsules that take 1 year to mature and seeds are expelled explosively from the capsules the following fall.
Stem:  The bark in smooth gray to gray brown.
Branching Pattern:
 Alternate 
Height:  10 to 15 feet tall (usually just as wide as it is tall)
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest: Requires rich wet soil, such as along the edges of woods, steams and ponds. It is some what pollution tolerant.
Known Wildlife Interactions:  None known
Range: Eastern North America from Nova Scotia to Wisconsin and south to Texas and Florida.
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide: Not threatened in the U.S. or globally.
Uses (Human): This herb has a long history of medical uses. It can be applied externally for bruises, sore muscles, varicose veins and inflammation. It is also a common ingredient in eye drops, skin cream and ointments.

References:

Plants for a Future.  June 2004.  Accessed: April 18, 2006.  <http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Polygonum+sagittatum>

The Pennsylvania Flora Project.  Botany Department, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.  Accessed: April 18, 2006. <http://www.paflora.org>

UConn Plant Database. University of Connecticut. 2001. Accessed April 18, 2006.<http://www.hort.uconn.edu/Plants/h/hamvir/hamvir1.html

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <http://www.iucnredlist.org

Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. 1977. pg. 168

This page was created by: A. Coiro, Muhlenberg College
Photos by: L. Rosenberg, edited by N. Smith
Last updated 04/25/06