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Hamamelis: species, cultivation and reproduction


Witch hazel is one of the most amazing plants in this world. The genus witch hazel can not boast of a large variety - only 4 species. Two of them live in North America, while the other two were born in East Asia. This plant was introduced into the culture at the beginning of the 20th century, and is still very valuable.

During flowering, witch hazel is almost completely strewn with bright yellow flowers, which have narrow petals and purple specks. Unusual plants are not only flowers with long, twisted petals, but even the rhythm of development of its individual species. The fruits of witch hazel are rounded woody boxes that look like nuts. The shrub grows in a very unusual time: either in early spring, or in autumn before the first frost. In connection with this unusual property, he was also nicknamed the "magic nut."

Hamamelis has dense dark green and very beautiful obovate leaves with distinct veins. In warm autumn, they acquire a lemon yellow color.

It is the American plant species that are most resistant to frost and temperate climate conditions, and therefore they are used for cultivation in Central Russia. Not susceptible to attack by diseases and pests. In nature, both species are found on the territory of eastern North America in the undergrowth of forests, on the edges, near streams, along the rocky banks of rivers and river valleys.

Hamamelis spring - a type of spring flowering

The flowers of this plant species appear in mid-April, while the leaves have not yet been opened. Light yellow flower petals reach 1 cm in length, and look a little from the calyx of a dark red hue. After flowering ends, obovate or oval leaves appear on the bush. In September, green box fruits become noticeable. The plant begins to bloom and bear fruit at the age of 5-7. The shrub tolerates both light and partial shade in a good place protected by tall trees. It is unpretentious to soil conditions. Witch hazel grows quite slowly, the annual growth of shoots is also small, rarely reaching 10-20 cm.

As a cultivated plant, this species began to be grown since 1908. In severe frosts in central Russia, annual shoots of plants can be damaged, but everything is quickly restored due to young shoots. In this regard, witch hazel is more often grown in the southern regions.

Recommended for single landings and small groups along the banks of ponds.

Hamamelis virginianus

It is a multi-stemmed shrub 3 meters high with a round and wide crown, as well as with sprawling branches. Its young shoots are covered with starry pubescence. In mid-May, dense, dark green leaves appear, characterized by an asymmetric base, a serrated edge. They have meek petioles, which are slightly pubescent in the lower part. But the most mysterious and interesting effect can be observed in the fall. In the middle of this month, not a lot of flowers appear in the bush, which are grouped. Small, with 4 narrow petals and purple specks, a little fragrant. The calyx of the flower has a brownish-yellow hue. The shrub itself begins to bloom from 8-10 years for three weeks. In autumn, the bush is very beautiful, thanks to the bright, yellow-lemon or slightly reddening leaves.

This species has been cultivated since 1736. In Russia, it is found mainly only in botanical gardens, for gardeners it is a very rare plant.

One of the garden forms - Rubescens has a tan flower and red leaves. At the same time, the shrub is very suitable for mass use for both group and single plantings.

Asian types of witch hazel

Asian species of this plant are vibrant and attractive: Japanese witch hazel and soft-haired witch hazel (Japan, Central China). Both plants have fragrant flowers, which consist of 4 narrow petals from reddish to light lemon shades. From the flowers, stamens with bright carmine motes are visible. Intermediate witch hazel, which is obtained by mixing two of these species, is particularly elegant. All types of oriental plant species are recommended for planting in the southern regions of Russia.

Cultivation and reproduction

For planting a shrub, it is best to choose an open area, or a little shaded by the crowns of large trees. The plant needs a light, fertile soil with drainage and plenty of moisture. During a drought, witch hazel requires good irrigation. Does not need pruning.

The shrub can be propagated using freshly picked seeds, which are subjected to cold stratification. Sowing seeds is necessary in October-November in boxes that need shelter with spruce branches or sawdust. Boxes in winter should be kept at a temperature of + 2-5 degrees Celsius in a cold greenhouse or buried in the snow. The first shoots will sprout in the spring, but only a year after sowing.

Such a different witch hazel

The use of witch hazel

The young shoots of the plant, bark and leaves contain essential oil, often used to create balms, lotions and creams. Hemostatic extracts are made from the bark of the bush. Previously, an infusion of leaves of witch hazel Indian tribes used as an external anti-inflammatory agent.