Common witch hazel is a shrub or small tree Native to the north and south portion of eastern North America. It's found in woodlands, stream banks, and forest edges; noted for fall flower display, and is the last of native shrubs to bloom. Witch hazel usually grows no taller than 12 to 15 feet. The shape is Irregular, becoming sparser in the shade.
Blooms occur from October to December and are most showy when planted in full sun. The colour is yellow, sometimes orange or red, and they're pollinated by a moth.
Seed capsules develop over a long period, going dormant in winter, turning brown, and exploding open in fall of the following year. One to two seeds per capsule are launched up to 30 feet. Seeds attract birds, and the plant is a host for the spring azure butterfly.
Leaves are dark green ontop, paler underneath, and with wavy to toothed margins. Nice yellow colour can occur in the fall.
Common with hazel is very tolerant of salt, and a variety of soil conditions, provided the soil is moist. There are no major pest issues except occasional gall wasps or Japanese beetles.
The name witchhazel likely came from the name wicke meaning "lively" and wyck meaning "bend" because forked branches were used by Native Americans to dowse for underground water sources.
Missouri Botanical Garden (n.d.). Hamamelis virginiana. Retrieved from https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a749
The Morton Arboretum. (n.d.). Common witch-hazel. Retrieved from https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/common-witch-hazel
Plants For a Future. (n.d.). Hamamelis virginiana - L. Retrieved from https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hamamelis+virginiana
Stritch, L. United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). American Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana L.). Retrieved from https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/hamamelis_virginiana.shtml