Hamamelis virginiana, also known as American or common witch hazel

Hamamelis virginiana, also known as American or common witch hazel, is one of two native witch hazels that grow in Missouri. Common witch hazel, like this one growing in MUBG’s Discovery Garden on the south side of the Bond Life Sciences Center, blooms in early fall after many other plants have called it quits.

While most perennial plants are settling in for a winter slumber, Missouri’s native witch hazels, Hamamelis virginiana, also known as American or common witch hazel, and H. vernalis, best known as Ozark witch hazel, are gearing up for their tiny, ribbon-petaled floral shows. The former begins flowering this time of year and the latter will wait until after the holiday season.

It is suspected that common witch hazel evolved its late-season flowering habit to entice pollinators that have fewer bloom buffets to choose from in the lingering days of warm weather. And Ozark witch hazel kindly waits to offer its sweet snacks until its cousin runs out of inventory.


About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

  • Jan Wiese-Fales writes about the Mizzou Botanic Garden. Her columns appear twice monthly in the Missourian.

Recommended for you