Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Witch Hazel in Bloom

If you've happened by the Shapiro Walk on the Princeton University campus, or passed by the intersection of Franklin and Snowden over the past couple weeks, you may have noticed the incongruous sight of shrubs in full bloom. These are witch hazel, and most likely a cross between the Japanese and the
Chinese species (Hamamelis japonica × H. mollis). Those along Shapiro Walk are orange.
The native witchhazel, Hamamelis virginiana, is quiet this time of year, but you can see where the clusters of small flowers were last fall. It grows in local nature preserves like Mountain Lakes and Woodfield Reservation, typically as an understory tree overlooking slopes overlooking streams.

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