Saturday, February 18, 2012

Witch hazel

Hamamelis virginiana
Hamamelis (witch hazel) is a genus with three species in Eastern North America and two in Asia.

Our native fall-flowering species, H. virginiana, is a wonderful shrub to small tree with lovely fall color. We planted one in front of the garage in the Piedmont, reflected in this post several years ago.

We've had a mystery hamamelis in front of our mountain house that's been attractive enough, but is starting to make a statement in terms of shape and size.

This winter, it's been covered with lovely yellowish-red flowers.

Hamamelis flowers

Hamamelis in front
I'd assumed it was Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis), because of the dark-orangish flowers, as the landscaper that was brought in by the previous owner wasn't quite as good (or accurate) as he'd hoped.

But he had wanted native plants, and looking at these flowers more closely this afternoon, it actually looks more like H. vernalis (a midwestern and southern species that flowers in late winter) than H. mollis.  But, Hamamelis is a genus that's been a successful landscape plant, so is full of hybrids (between American and Asian species) and cultivars selected from both.

So, without trying to look into all of the detailed characteristics of this plant to confirm an ID, we've decided that we'll just enjoy it -- and think that it looks more like H. vernalis than H. mollis. (Check out this description from the Missouri Botanical Garden.)

4 comments:

  1. I finally ordered a Witch hazel for my garden, an Ozark witch hazel, a native. H. vernalis. Looking forward to having it in my garden.

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  2. Janet,
    If what we have is H. vernalis, you'll really enjoy it. It's a lovely shrub with a nice shape.
    Lisa

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  3. i am waiting to see if my witch hazel, Diane, has made it through the winter. I think the deer have been nibbling my tiny sapling.

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  4. We have H. mollis and love its early spring flowers. It doesn't like its roots being disturbed but we moved it last year. It was then subjected to the driest summer for a century in these parts. But is flowering its little heart out now!

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