Witch-hazel (Hamamelis) is a genus that is economically important for its medicinal astringent properties and is also is well loved for its late to early season flowering period (October to March in Northern latitudes). The small, distinctive flowers brighten the cold months with gentle fragrances and a splash of color, especially on a still, sunny day. The word “Hamamelis” comes from the Greek meaning “together with fruit,” thus witch-hazel flowers usually occur together with the ripening fruits.
Virtually all species of Hamamelis are hardy in our zone, and together with a plethora of selections and hybrids this means The Dawes Arboretum’s collection is considerable. Our current inventory is represented by some 100 taxa of over 300 specimens. Significant holdings of Hamamelis exist in other botanical gardens and arboreta in this country, and we are working toward forming a multisite collection to capture even more breadth of variety.
For a current listing of the publicly accessible witch-hazels in our collection, visit Dawes Arboretum Explorer and select the genus “Hamamelis.”