witch-hazel Hamamelidaceae Hamamelis
Leaf: Alternate, simple, broadly ovate to obovate, 3 to 6 inches long, inequilateral, wavy margin (nearly dentate), petiole pubescent, dark green above and paler below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; bright yellow, with 4, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, very slender petals (look like yellow spiders on plant), appearing in mid to late fall.
Fruit: Woody, brown capsule, 1/2 inch long and nearly as wide, containing two shiny black seeds, 1/4 inch long, seeds are forcibly discharged when capsule splits open. Maturing in late summer and old capsules are persistent.
Twig: Slender, light brown, fine pubescence; light brown vegetative buds (1/3 inch) are stalked and lack scales (resemble a deer foot, they are actually a tiny folded leaf); flower buds are small, round and occur in tight clusters from short stalks.
Bark: Smooth, gray to gray-brown even on very old stems.
Form: A small tree or shrub with arching branches, usually growing in dense multi-stemmed clumps reaching up to 20 feet tall.
Looks like: vernal witch-hazel - hybrid witch-hazel - Persian ironwood - dwarf fothergilla
Additional Range Information: Hamamelis virginiana is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See the full-size PDF map.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS FEIS Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information