American Witch Hazel
(Autumn Leaf of Witch-Hazel)
Hamamelis virginiana Linnaeus
Hamamelidaceae (Witch-Hazel) Family
Also known as Southern Witch-Hazel


Plant is an upright aromatic shrub or small tree. Height is usually no more than 20-30 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 to 8 inches. Preferred habitat is moist woods in the understory of hardwood forests. Distribution is throughout the Escambia River region.

Leaves are broadly widest at the middle, pointed or rounded tip, blunt to notched at base, or may be rounded but unequaled in sides, numerous side veins.

Flowers are bright yellow with thread-like petals; twisted, few, short flower stalks. Flowers occur in autumn and early winter.

Fruit is a hard egg-shaped capsule.

Extracts from this tree/shrub leaf and bark is used in mild astringent lotions and toilet water. Legend held that a forked branch could be used to locate underground streams; a process known as "devining" water.

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