The Witch Hazels
Hamamelis are medium-sized shrubs, which normally do not exceed 5-6 meters in height; most of the species are native to North America, with two Asian species; the peculiarity that all species share, apart from hamamelis virginiana, is the time of flowering: hamamelis bloom in the middle of winter, with the plants still completely leafless; the flowers therefore stand out on the bare wood, and often seem almost fake, since they bloom even with intense cold or snow and adverse weather conditions. Hamamelis virginiana instead produces its flowers in autumn; the name of the species is given by the behavior of Hamamelis virginiana: hamamelis means "together with fruits"; in fact, this species produces flowers when the fruits of the previous year are ripe on the plant. Generally the hamamelis they produce broad, multi-stemmed, globose shrubs with fairly disordered, non-regular foliage; the leaves are large, oval, dark green in color, crossed by showy veins in relief. The flowers bloom without a stalk, therefore directly from the wood, and consist of some dark colored bracts, which subtend the petals from the flower, thin, almost linear, and with a wrinkled appearance; the end result is a sort of disordered pompon, lemon yellow in color. There are varieties and species with dark, orange, pink or purple flowers.
The species of witch hazelHamamelis virginiana
This species is native to North America; it has large obovate, deciduous leaves; flowering begins when the plant is still full of leaves, and continues until late autumn, when only the new flowers and the fruits of the previous year remain, or the woody capsules that contain the seeds. Definitely rustic shrub, not afraid of the cold, even when the frost drops below -10 ° C.