Witch Hazel, common

Hamamelis virginiana
A shrub or small, up to 20’ tree with wide-spreading branches. The light brown bark is smooth or somewhat scaly. The alternate, broadly elliptical leaves have shallow blunt teeth and a blunt to asymmetrical heart-shaped base. The 1” flowers are in short-stalked clusters. There are 4 yellow, twisted, linear petals, 4 stamens and a single pistil. The hairy green calyx is 4-pointed. The ½“ greenish to brown fruit has a cup-like base and the top splits to reveal a pair of ¼” shiny black seeds. Flowers September-November; fruits can be seen at any time of the year.

An aromatic extract of leaves, twigs and bark is used as an astringent lotion. Forked branches have been used as “divining rods” for finding water.