Witch Hazel or Winterbloom
Witch hazel is a small deciduous tree native to North America. The name hamamelis means “together with fruit”: the fruit of the previous year is on the plant along with the current year’s flowers. The flowers on the Hamamelis virginiana bloom from October to December, and the fruit is a capsule that explosively splits in autumn, with distances reaching up to 33 feet. The plant is often used as a garden shrub because of its colorful cluster of yellow flowers that last through the winter. The bark and leaves of the plant are used medicinally as an astringent, and can also be used on sores, bruises, and swelling, as an after-shave, as remedies for psoriasis, eczema, ingrown nails, as a treatment for insect bites and poison ivy, and for hemorrhoids and varicose veins.