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A Welcome Sight in Early Spring

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

A witch hazel branch in still life. Photographer Donna Diamond of Boston, MA

It's getting a little late in the season to talk about witch hazel. In the northeast, witch hazel blooms can be seen in February, when snow is still on the ground. It's such a welcome sight on a late winter walk! This year, the blooms seemed to persist a bit longer so I thought I's share these photos with you. I found this cultivar 'Jelena' blooming in the Mount Auburn Cemetery about 2 weeks ago. It's copper-colored blooms are a nice departure from the more ubiquitous cultivar 'Arnold Promise.' Witch hazel has a faint fragrance, or at least I press myself to imagine I am detecting a fragrance. Much sought after amid the winter doldrums!

Hamamelis X intermedia 'Jelena'

Both 'Jelena' and 'Arnold Promise' are Hamamelis X intermedia hybrids, which is a cross between Hamamelis mollis and Hamamelis japonica.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise' Taken in the Arnold Arboretum. Photographer Donna Diamond of Boston, MA

Witch hazel is a member of the Hamamelidaceae family. Other genera of this family include Corylopsis, or winter hazel. Watch for winter hazel with it's pendulous bell-shaped flowers soon after witch hazel. Also look for the very fragrant, brush-like flowers of Fothergilla in mid- to late-spring. Look for Parrotia (Persian ironwood) in the early fall.

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