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Hamamelis vernalis Plant of Merit

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Kemper Code:  C920

Common Name: Ozark witch hazel
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Southern and central United States
Height: 6 to 10 feet
Spread: 8 to 15 feet
Bloom Time: January - April   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Yellow with red inner calyx
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low


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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best flowering in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils. Tolerates heavy clay soils. Promptly remove suckers to prevent colonial spread. Prune in spring after flowering to control shape and size.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Ozark witch hazel is a deciduous, winter-blooming, Missouri native shrub with a rounded habit which typically grows 6-10' tall (less frequently to 15') with a somewhat larger spread. Usually occurs in the wild in gravel or rocky stream beds or at the base of rocky slopes along streams. Noted for its extremely early (January to February-March) and lengthy (to 4 weeks) bloom period. Fragrant, globular flower clusters (to 3/4" wide) have variable coloration, but flowers most frequently have yellow petals and reddish inner calyxes. Ovate, dull green leaves (2-5") turn an attractive golden yellow in autumn. Extract obtained from the leaves, bark and stems was formerly used medicinally by native Americans for, inter alia, external treatment of sprains, bruises and inflammations.

Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Occasional insect galls (small wasps) appear on foliage. Best winter hardiness of the late winter-flowering witch hazels.

Uses:

Shrub border, native plant or naturalized garden, woodland garden or screen/informal hedge. Good specimen value due to fragrant, late winter flowers and good fall color. Flowering stems can make an attractive winter bouquet.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011


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