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Posts Tagged ‘witch hazel ozarks january 2012 boston mountains’

It is a welcome sign of spring and they will become more predominate as we get into February. Common in yellow and red-orange and red at times. A welcome sign in the Boston Mountains.

The witch-hazels are deciduous shrubs or (rarely) small trees growing to 3–8 metres (9.8–26 ft) tall, rarely to 12 metres (39 ft) tall. Theleaves are alternately arranged, oval, 4–16 centimetres (1.6–6.3 in) long and 3–11 centimetres (1.2–4.3 in) broad, with a smooth or wavy margin. The horticultural name means “together with fruit”; its fruit, flowers, and next year’s leaf buds all appear on the branch simultaneously, a rarity among trees. H. virginiana flowers in the fall of the year. The flowers of the other species are produced on the leafless stems in winter. Each flower has four slender strap-shaped petals 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) long, pale to dark yellow, orange, or red.

The fruit is a two-part capsule 1 centimetre (0.39 in) long, containing a single 5 millimetres (0.20 in) glossy black seed in each of the two parts; the capsule splits explosively at maturity in the autumn about 8 months after flowering, ejecting the seeds with sufficient force to fly for distances of up to 10 metres (33 ft), thus another alternative name “Snapping Hazel”.

Native Americans produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems of the shrub and condensing the steam to produce a distillate. They used the distillate to treat sore muscles, cuts, insect bites, and other inflammations and tumors. Early Puritan settlers in New England adopted this remedy from the natives, and its use became widely established in the United States.

Witch Hazel in an orange form

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