Witch-hazel

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Witch-hazel
Missing image
Hamamelis_Flower.jpg



Hamamelis in Fürth City Park (Germany), 2004-02-08
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Saxifragales (Hamamelidales)
Family:Hamamelidaceae
Genus:Hamamelis
Species

Hamamelis japonica
Hamamelis mollis
Hamamelis vernalis
Hamamelis virginiana

Witch-hazel is the common name for a genus of shrubs Hamamelis in the family Hamamelidaceae, with four species, two in North America (H. virginiana and H. vernalis), and one each in Japan (H. japonica) and China (H. mollis). The Persian Ironwood, a closely related tree formerly treated as Hamamelis persica, is now given a genus of its own, as Parrotia persica. Other closely allied genera are Parrotiopsis, Fothergilla and Sycopsis (see under Hamamelidaceae).

They are popular garden shrubs, grown for their clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers which begin to expand in the autumn before the leaves fall and continue throughout the winter. It is one of the earliest blooming garden plants. The bark and leaves are astringent, the extract, also referred to as Witch Hazel, is used medicinally. The seeds contain a quantity of oil and are edible. The name is derived from the use of the twigs as divining rods, just as hazel twigs were used in England.

Missing image
Hamamelis_flowers.jpg
Close up of Hamamelis sp. flowers, Menai Bridge, Wales

The word witch has its origins in Middle English wiche, from the Old English wice, meaning "pliant" or "bendable", and which also gives us Wicker and weak.de:Zaubernuss

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