Native Plant Highlights

What’s in Bloom | Witch Hazel

November 9, 2020

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a small tree native to Eastern North America. With low growing arching branches, the tree can be found throughout Virginia in a wide range of habitats, elevations and community types. It does well in moist rich soils and is often found growing along forests streams.

One of the most striking features of this plant is that while most flowers are beginning to fade as late Autumn sets in, Witch Hazel is just beginning to bloom. The unique crumpled-looking yellow flowers can be seen blooming well into the winter after most leaves have fallen from the trees. The seeds form in small capsules and upon drying are ejected 10-20 feet out onto the forest floor.

Benefits to Biodiversity | With few pollinators around in late fall and winter, one might wonder how these flowers get pollinated. Small brown moths are the primary pollinator of this tree. The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.

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