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Early-blooming Witch Hazel

Q. Please give me some information on the flowering witch hazel that blooms in March.

A. Vernal witch hazel, or Hamamelis vernalis, is a dense native shrub or small tree that is the earliest woody plant to bloom in our area. The straplike, fragrant flower petals are found in unusual color combinations of yellow, orange and red. Witch hazel not only tolerates partial shade and wet, clay soils but also puts on a brilliant autumn foliar display when its large, mittenlike leaves turn golden or bronze. Many cultivars of Hamamelis are on display throughout the Garden