Hamamelis virginiana, Witch Hazel

Black Ash
photos by Dennis Kalma
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
ITIS Number:
NRCS Symbol:
  Hamamelis virginiana L.
Witch Hazel
Hamamelidaceae (Witch Hazels)


Leaves: alternate-simple, 5-15 cm; egg-shaped with broadest part toward the distal end; bases uneven; wavy-edged to irregularly coarsely toothed

Buds: buds naked (without bud scales covering embryonic leaves) and hairy, stalked at the base; leaf scars with 3 bundles tho barely distinguishable in winter

Twigs: yellowish hairy when young; brown hairy by autumn

Bark: smooth or with rough patches; often with cross-stripes

Shrub: up to 5 m tall; diameter to 20 cm

Flowers and Fruits: flowers in late fall, fruits held over winter and mature during following summer; flowers 4-parted with long (1.5-2.0 cm) thin yellow petals; in clusters in axils of leaves; seeds born in 4-parted woody nutlet which usually persists on the shrub for at least a year

Habitat: moist woods

Similar species: the only shrub with naked buds, 3 bundle scars, and leaves with an uneven base

        Hamamelis virginiana - range map
        Flora of North America
    Hamamelis virginiana - overwintering nutlet    
    overwintering nutlet: ~ 5 mm wide    
Hamamelis virginiana - bud       Hamamelis virginiana - winter leaf scar
winter bud
length terminal bud ~ 9 mm
      leaf scar in winter
width ~ 2mm