Friday, October 21, 2016

Wildflowers of 2016 - #252

Yesterday (20 OCT), I photographed what will probably be my last wildflower species of 2016. This is the first new species that I have added in over a month.  So what did I find?

Wildflowers of 2016 - #252 Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch-hazel is an understory tree/shrub.  Its yellow fall leaves can be seen at center and right in this photo

It should be no surprise that my latest wildflower of the year is Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).  Most wildflowers have finished blooming for the year before the Witch-hazel even begins to think about flowering.  This native shrub blooms between late September and early November and is typically the last plant of the year to begin flowering in Michigan.  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

I found Witch-hazel at Mission Creek Park, where it is a common understory tree or shrub, especially in the upland woods north of the parking lot.  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.

The species commonly grows 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.

Witch-hazel flowers and leaves

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