Witch hazel Facts

Witch hazel Facts
Witch hazel is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the witch hazel family. There are 6 species of witch hazel that can be found in North America, China and Japan. Witch hazel grows in the forests, on the hills, rocky terrains, near the rivers and in the ravines. It prefers deep, fertile, moist soil and areas that provide partial shade. People cultivate witch hazel in ornamental purposes and as a source of tannins that are used in medical industry.
Interesting Witch hazel Facts:
Witch hazel grows as large shrub or small tree. It can reach 12 to 30 feet in height and 15 to 20 feet in width.
Witch hazel has smooth, thin bark that is brown on the surface and reddish-purple from the inside.
Witch hazel develops simple oval leaves that have asymmetrical base and wavy margins. Leaves are green colored and alternately arranged on the branches.
Witch hazel produces yellow flowers arranged in clusters. Flowers consist of four, strap-like petals that are able to curl inward to protect the inner structures from freezing during the winter. Flowers are fragrant and filled with nectar which attracts moths, responsible for the pollination.
Witch hazel blooms from October to December (or even to March). Leaves of witch hazel will fall to the ground during the autumn, but flowers will remain on the branches almost until the end of the winter.
Fruit of witch hazel are fuzzy, brown capsules that grow in pairs. Each capsule has two horns on the surface and it contains two seed. Fruit ripens during the summer.
Witch hazel produces small, black seed that are white and oily on the inside. Seed of witch hazel are edible.
Mature capsule explodes and scatters seed 10 to 20 feet (rarely 40 feet) away from the mother plant. That's how witch hazel earned a nickname "snapping hazel".
Fruit of witch hazel is important source of food for the pheasants, grouses, bob-whites, white-tailed deer, beavers and black bears.
Dowsers use forked branches of witch hazel for detection of water in the ground.
Native Americans used seed of witch hazel in various sacred rituals.
Bark and leaves of witch hazel are used to accelerate healing of the wounds and to stop the bleeding. Witch hazel is also used in treatment of diarrhea and inflammation of eyes.
Extract of witch hazel twigs combined with alcohol, known under the trade name "hamamelis water", originates from the 19th century. This product is still used in treatment of skin disorders and varicose veins.
Witch hazel is used in the cosmetic and medical industry for the manufacture of mouthwashes, aftershaves, toilet waters and skin care products (especially those designed to soothe the insect bites and sunburns).
Witch hazel is perennial plant that can survive around 20 years in the wild.

Related Links:
Plants Facts
Animals Facts