This Month in the Garden (November 2009)...
flowers of native witch-hazels are the final blooms in Port Washington
gardens. They appear after
the last yellow leaves flutter away, leaving the tree’s bare branches
festooned in yellow streamers.
is native to North America east of the Mississippi River and takes its
name from a corruption of the Old English words meaning pliant hazel.
It is a multi-stemmed understory tree usually growing 10 to 15
feet tall and wide although specimens in ideal locations may reach 30
feet. This native is hardy
from zones 3 to 8 and is easily identified by its zig-zagging branch
tree’s leaves and bark are used to make astringent used in
after-shaves, acne treatments, and to soothe aches and bruises.
It’s also used for the “divining rods” dousers claim will
hazel is unusual not only for its late season bloom but because its
jingle bell-like fruit capsules take a year to mature before explosively
expelling their seeds. In
the autumn the four petal flowers, seed capsules and buds for the next
year’s blossoms are all present on the tree at the same time.
Most witch hazels available at nurseries are hybrids of Asian species (sold as Hamamelis x intermedia) which bloom in late winter, from late February to early April. These trees have flowers ranging from yellow to orange to red and autumn color of yellow through orange. They’re pollution tolerant and hardy from zone 5 to 8.
Month in the Garden Archive:
Port Washington Garden Club, PO
Box 492, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
Registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization