Jan. 24, 2018

American witchhazel, Hamamelis virginiana

Today we're going ballistic about a bush that has a couple of unusual features. Witchhazel is the last flower of the season, here blooming as late as October or even November. The flowers are about an inch across. The resulting fruit doesn't develop until the following year, maturing as long as a year later. When they are mature, the do go ballistic. The hard dry pods spring open with force, shooting the seeds far from the parent. It has been shown that the angles of release of the seeds are designed to maximize the distance achieved. The shape and smoothness of the seeds minimizes air resistance, again helping to maximize distance. Distances up to 30 feet have been observed. Witch hazel grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, NB, NS, ON, PE, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 10/17/11.