Shrubs of Wisconsin

Hamamelis virginiana L.
American witch-haze
Family: Hamamelidaceae
growth form branch leaves flower fruit twig

The leaves of Hamamelis virginiana are simple and alternate and the margins are usually "wavy" or with a few large, irregular blunt teeth. The terminal buds are very distinctive, often exceeding one cm in length and stalked. They are also naked buds, but this character is difficult to recognize because the surface is covered with a dense layer of yellow-brown hairs and scales, which often extends over the adjacent tip of the twig. The flowers, with 4 conspicuous elongate, narrow, yellow petals open in fall. The fruit is dry and woody and tends to stay on the branches through the winter, after expelling the seeds in the fall. The growth form is often of multiple stems from the base, reaching a height of 5-8 meters and might be either small tree or a shrub.

Hamamelis virginiana ranges across most of the eastern U.S. to about the Mississippi River, and a little farther west in the south where it reaches eastern Oklahoma and Texas. In Wisconsin it is found throughout the southern 2/3 of the state, and becomes patchy in the most northern counties as it reaches the northwest extreme of its range. Habitat is usually moderately dry forest with thin or patchy canopies.


known Wisconsin distribution


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