What’s blooming in Dawn’s yard? American witch hazel

Blog post by Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Photos by Dawn Weber and Kathy Bildner 

Close-up of witch hazel bloomPlant name:
American or common witch hazel (Hamamlis virginiana)

Description
Witch hazel grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree, as large as 15-20 feet high and wide. 

It will flower best in sunnier spots, but can tolerate a fair amount of shade. Witch hazel grows best in moist, acidic, rich soil but ​tolerates average soil moisture, clay soil, and even poor drainage.

The color of the flowers can range from yellow to yellow with an orange-tinged center and will appear any time from October through December. The leaves turn yellow and provide nice fall color. 

Why I chose this plant:
I chose to plant witch hazel because I wanted to extend the blooming​ season as long as possible for pollinators and other insects. Witch hazel will be the last plant to bloom in the fall.

Witch hazel in bloomThe related Spring or Ozark​ witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) blooms in late winter/early spring. Plant both!

Visitors:
Unfortunately I have not noticed any visitors this fall, but it should be attractive to moths and flies. It is a host plant to at least 62 species of moths, including the Unicorn caterpillar moth. 

Environment:
This species is native to the Eastern United States, but is not as prevalent in Missouri, where it is found in the St. Francois mountain area.  

References:

Where to Purchase:
Forrest Keeling Nursery 

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