Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wildflowers of 2014 - #238 Witch Hazel

Last Tuesday (14 OCT), I found what will probably be my final wildflower of 2014.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #238 Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Most wildflowers have finished blooming for the year before the Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) begins to flower.  This native shrub blooms between late September and early November.  In Michigan it is typically the last plant of the year to begin flowering.  Its yellow flowers are pollinated by flies, moths, and beetles.  The plant is also capable of self pollination.  The  flower's narrow petals are up to 3/4 of an inch long.

Witch-hazel flowers

A bee-mimicking fly (upper right) visits a Witch-hazel flower

Witch-hazel is found in the eastern United States and Canada, east of a line from Minnesota south to eastern Texas.  In Michigan, it is found in nearly every county.  It commonly grow to a height of up to 20 feet.  Witch-hazel leaves grow up to 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.  The leaves grow in an alternate pattern on the branches.

The wavy branches of a Witch-hazel plant

Witch-hazel loses its leaves about the same time that it flowers

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