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