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Witch hazel

Witch Hazel Herb
is the common name for a genus of shrubs Hamamelis in the family Hamamelidaceae, with four species, two in North America (H. virginiana and H. vernalis), and one each in Japan (H. japonica) and China (H. mollis). The Persian Ironwood, a closely related tree formerly treated as Hamamelis persica, is now given a genus of its own, as Parrotia persica, as it differs in the flowers not having petals. Other closely allied genera are Parrotiopsis, Fothergilla and Sycopsis (see under Hamamelidaceae). The Witch-Hazel is not closely related to the Common Hazel.

They are popular garden shrubs, grown for their clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers which begin to expand in the autumn before the leaves fall and continue throughout the winter. It is one of the earliest blooming garden plants. The bark and leaves are astringent, the extract, also referred to as Witch Hazel, is used medicinally. Extracts from
Witch Hazel Herb
its bark and leaves are used in aftershave lotions and lotions for treating bruises. The seeds contain a quantity of oil and are edible. The name is derived from the use of the twigs as divining rods, just as hazel twigs were used in England.

Hamamelis species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Feathered Thorn.

The word witch has its origins in Middle English wiche, from the Old English wice, meaning "pliant" or "bendable", and which also gives us Wicker and weak.

Other useful herb information: Alfalfa | Kava Kava | Spirulina | Bentonite Clay | Gotu Kola | Goldenseal | Turmeric

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