Thursday, June 10, 2010

Witch Hazel Awesome Flowering Tree

The Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana, Linn.) is a small tree, or usually a stout shrub, rarely 25 feet high. Bark light brown, scaly or smooth. Wood close grained, hard, heavy, brownish red, with thick, white sap wood. Buds sickle shaped, pale brown, hairy, enclosed in leafy stipules. Leaves alternate, unsymmetrical, strongly veined, oval or obovate, wavy margined, or coarsely serrate, 4 to 6 inches long, rusty-hairy at first, yellow in autumn, often hanging all winter.

It flowers in autumn, clustered, greenish, with 4 yellow ribbon like petals. Fruits ripe in autumn, a 2-beaked, 2-celled, woody capsule that opens explosively; seeds, 2, black, shiny. These trees Prefers habitat of low rich soil or rocky stream banks.

The flowers bear a warm, spicy fragrance and precede the leaves, blooming in late winter to early spring. The fringe-like petals on these yellow flowers resemble small strips of paper that have just exited from a shredder. Its beautiful yellow flowers, that look like curled yellow strips, make it a great landscaping element for a yard.

There are also several popular witch hazel tree varieties, such as the Chinese witch hazel, that has flowers similar to the witch hazel tree, the Jolena that has coppery-orange flowers, the Ruby Glow, that has coppery-red flowers, and the fire charm, that has orange-coppery flowers.