Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

WITCH-HAZEL
Hamamelis virginiana
Hamamelidaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, asymmetrical and obovate with an unequal base, wavy margin and hair on the underside. Young twigs are hairy and buds are hairy and naked (without visible scales). Bark is light brown-gray and fairly smooth with lenticels. Flowers are yellow or reddish, thread-like, and bloom in autumn. Fruit is a woody capsule that ejects seeds in the winter. Form is a shrub or small understory tree up to 6 m (20 ft) in height. Witch-hazel is found in moist upland sites in the eastern U.S. and is tolerant of shade. Witch-hazel astringent is made from the inner bark. The fruit is eaten by birds and squirrels.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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