– Witch Hazel family
A perennial semi erect deciduous tree or
shrub. It grows below the canopy of other larger trees. It
therefore tends to have branches arrayed in an umbrella-like shape
to gather as much sunlight as possible. The tree typically has
dense clusters of stems emanating from its base. The bark is light
brown, smooth, scaly; the inner bark is reddish purple.
Maximum height after 20 years is 15' - 20',
but it is typically much shorter.
The asymmetrical leaves are oval, 1.5–6.5 in long and
1–5 in wide, oblique at the base, acute or rounded at the apex,
with a wavy-toothed or shallowly lobed margin, and a short,
stout petiole .25 - .5 in long; the midrib is more or less hairy,
stout, with six to seven pairs of primary veins. The young
leaves open involute, covered with stellate rusty down; when
full grown, they are dark green above, and paler beneath. In
fall, they turn yellow with rusty spots. The leaf stipules are
lanceolate, acute; they fall soon after the leaf expands.
Multiple branched stems.
The flowers are
pale to bright yellow grow in clusters. They have four
ribbon-shaped petals .3 - .75 in long and four short
stamens. The flower calyx is deeply four-parted, very downy,
orange brown within, imbricate in bud, persistent, cohering
with the base of the ovary. Two or three bractlets appear at
The fruit is a hard woody capsule .3 - .5
Dark rich forests
Leaves and twigs
Wild Food Uses:
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
Hazel is astringent and anti-inflammatory in nature. Decoctions
of the leaves and twigs have been used by Native Americans to
treat swelling, inflammation, and tumors. Tinctured Witch Hazel
is an effective treatment for hemorrhoids, and varicose veins.
It is also said to have a calming sedative effect, and the
ability to stop bleeding, and to raise blood pressure by
constricting blood vessels. I have made highly effective acne
treating ointments from Witch Hazel.