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Facts About the Witch Hazel Tree

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Facts About the Witch Hazel Tree

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Overview

Witch hazel tree, also known as Hamamelis virginiana, is a shrub or tree depending on pruning preference. It is part of the witch hazel family of plants, called Hamamelidaceae.

Witch hazel has interesting blooms. image by "Hamamelis mollis 'Princeton Gold'" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Tie Guy II (Bob Gutowski) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Description

The witch hazel tree has light brown bark and greenish flowers with yellow ribbons of petals in the autumn, as well as fruits during the same season. Leaves are 4 to 6 inches long. It will reach a maximum height of 20 to 30 feet.

Growth

Witch hazel needs a rich soil with a pH of neutral to slightly acidic. It grows best in full sun but can tolerate the shade. It is not drought tolerant.

Hardiness

The witch hazel tree is hardy from Zones 3 (Minnesota and Alaska are examples) to 9 (Texas and Florida are examples). It can survive in temperatures down to 35 degrees below 0 F.

Propagation

Witch hazel is propagated by seeds, layering or softwood cuttings. In the wild, they germinate from seed more often than other methods.

Fun Facts

Native Americans used witch hazel tree bark to treat sores, tumors and skin ulcers. When boiled, twigs were used for sore muscles, and a tea was used to treat coughs, colds and dysentery.

References

  • Floridata
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones
Keywords: witch hazel, witch hazel tree, Hamamelis virginiana

About this Author

T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.

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