Witch Hazel
Hamamelis virginiana L. (Hamamelidaceae)

Common Names
Witch hazel, common witch hazel, hamamelis, long boughs, pistachio, snapping hazel, snapping hazel nut, southern witch hazel, spotted alder, striped alder, tobacco wood, white hazel, winterbloom, wood tobacco

A crooked tree or shrub usually 8 to 15 feet in height, with forking branches and smooth, brown bark. The leaves are roundish to round-oval, 3 to 5 inches long, thick, and borne on a short stalk. Yellow, thread-like flowers appear in late fall or early winter after the leaves have fallen. Fruits occur in clusters along the stem and mature the following season, when they burst open and eject shiny black seeds.

Flowering Period
September to November.

North America

Dry to moist woods.

Leaves, twigs, and bark in fall.

Small Tree


The twigs, leaves, and bark are used to prepare witch hazel extract, which has been used in shaving lotions and to treat bruises and sprains. The fresh leaves of the plant contain high concentrations of tannin, which makes them very astringent.

Historic use to treat inflamed skin and eyes has been validated. Topical application helps to heal damaged blood vessels beneath the skin making it useful for varicose veins and bruises.

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