This weekend the hard freeze killed all the non-hardies, but I was so excited to find these tiny yellow blooms on my Witch Hazel shrub that I planted last month!
Aren’t they cute? It amazes me every time I see a plant (that I planted) doing what it’s supposed to do! LOL!
Witch Hazel (aka Hamamelis virginiana) is a Virginia native shrub. It will grow to be 10-30 feet tall. Witch Hazel blooms when nothing else does (October through December)! The blooms are yellow and look like strings. They are very fragrant and smell like lemon zest.
The gray fruit take a long time to mature, and when they are disturbed they explode and send the seeds flying yards away.
Native Americans taught Europeans how to use the branches, bark and leaves medicinally as a skin astringent and to help with sores and insect bites.
Early settlers aka “water witching diviners” used forked branches of Witch Hazel (growing in north-south directions) as divining rods to find underground springs. They held onto the forked ends and walked around waiting for the other end to make a downward tugging movement, indicating water was underground.
The name may come from the phrase “wicke hazel” which meant “bending hazel”.