Witch hazels in flower

Beside the Ice House and in the Winter Garden several hybrid witch hazels are in full spidery flower.

13 Jan 2011

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Hamamelis intermedia

Hamamelis intermedia flower

One of the finest of all winter-flowering shrubs, the witch hazel is blessed with a delicious scent. It has extraordinary spidery clusters of sulphur yellow to red flowers which are borne on bare branches in December and January, providing welcome colour in this often bleak time of year - and a treat for one’s winter-weary eyes.

Like most winter-flowering plants, hybrid witch hazel depends on intense fragrance to attract the few pollinators that are stirring at that time of the year. Hamamelis intermedia is a cross between the Chinese witch hazel, Hamamelis mollis, and the Japanese witch hazel, H. japonica. The extract of the bark and leaves, also called witch hazel, that is used medicinally comes from H. virginiana.

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4 comments on 'Witch hazels in flower'

Kew feedback team says

25/01/2013 9:36:27 AM | Report abuse

Hamamelis are mainly an American genus and are pollinated by various flies and moths in their native habitat. In the UK they are mainly pollinated by fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster and other Drosophila sp. On days when the temperature is around ten degrees you can sometimes see clouds of them around a plant. Bees and even butterflies will also pollinate them during warmer spells.

Clare Bevan says

23/01/2013 5:57:35 PM | Report abuse

What does pollinate Hamamelis?

Steve Lill says

02/02/2011 3:28:43 PM | Report abuse

I knew a Witch Hazel that I visited just to smell it this time of the year. The Dog got walked an extra block just for this (my) pleasure. I liked your 'spidery flower' description, spot on. Steve

Jack Richardson says

22/01/2010 12:00:00 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice to see a picture of the plant in full along side of the flower and the size it will grow too.

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