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     On cold winter days, when most everyone else is hibernating, Witch Hazel is blooming.  Yellow spider-like flowers adorn these shrubs -- and it's a good thing for the little flying things out there looking for a bit of nectar.  In particular, this plant is pollinated by a moth called the Bicolored Sallow.*

     Traditionally, Witch Hazel has been used to treat ulcers and sores, dysentery and colds, and to stop bleeding.  It is still used today to treat inflammation and skin irritation. Here is more on Witch Hazel's health benefits (


     For wildlife, Witch Hazel is a larval host to dozens of moth species including the Polyphemus moth, the relatively rare Cameraria hamameliella, and dozens of others. Native bees, beetles and wasps are attracted to Witch Hazel, and birds eat the winter fruits.


     Witch Hazel's foliage emerges bronze-red and turns a shiny yellow in fall. As the leaves drop, the flowers appear providing unusual winter interest. 


     Fun fact #1: The flowers and fruit on Witch Hazel can appear at the same time, which is rare.


     Fun fact #2:  The “witch” in Witch Hazel comes from “Wicke” in Middle English for “lively,” and “Wych,” which is Anglo-Saxon for “Bend” -- in which the the Witch Hazel sticks bend toward the ground indicating the presence of water (U.S. Forest Service).


     *Doug Tallamy

Witch Hazel

3 Gallons
    • Latin: Hamamelis virginiana
    • Pollinator value: High
    • Wetland status: FAC
    • Height: 15-20 feet high and wide
    • Light: Full sun (best) to part shade
    • Soil: Moist, well drained; seasonally wet 
    • Bloom: Yellow, fringe-like, late fall to late winter
    • Fruit: Brown/copper seed capsules
    • Foliage: Deciduous, yellow fall
    • Resistance: Deer, clay
    • Landscape: Flowering tree, hedge, privacy screen
    • More information and native range here
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