Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Witch Hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

Other common names: Common Witch Hazel

Family: Witch Hazel Family (Hamamelidaceae)

Distinctive features: Shrub

Similar species:
  •   Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Flowers: Autumn, Winter;  Yellow;  4 parts (petals);  With scraggly petals. They bloom in late fall, and can sometimes be seen through the winter (even in December and January)!

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Entire;  Broadly roundish.

Height: 5-7 m (16-22 ft)

Habitat: Forests, Fields and Open Areas;  This shrub or small tree likes to grow in the woods, but not in the deep shade. It seems to prefer clearings.

Books: Trees in Canada: 272    Shrubs of Ontario: 151    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 168   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: virginiana: of Virginia, Virginian

Photographs: 209 photographs available, of which 9 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page
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Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

The leaves are roundish, with an offset base.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel flowers are perhaps its best-known feature. They appear in late fall, and often stay in bloom long after the leaves have fallen. You may even see flowers still out in January!
This photo shows flowers in bloom in November. It also shows how they typically grow in small clusters along a branch.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

A close-up of a flower. Note the scraggly appearance of the petals. This is distinctive (ie, no other flower looks like this).

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

These are flowers that are all done, in the winter.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Seed pods.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Seed pods that have opened in the late fall. The seed pods from the previous year may still be on the plant as next year's flowers are blooming.
These pods will open explosively, suddenly flinging the seeds some distance.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Trunk and bark.
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Range map for Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)