Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last Blooms of the Year

Over 7 months ago I was writing about all of the Witchhazels that were in bloom and how they were among the first plants to bloom in the new year.  Well, Common Witchhazel, Hamamelis virginiana, is among the last of the native shrubs to bloom.  Sometimes you don't notice the flowers because the leaves are still attached.  My 3 year old witchhazel began blooming about 10 days ago (early October) while the leaves were still quite green.  Now bloom is peaking and the leaves are turning chartreuse and yellow.

These photos are of some older plants at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  Leaf drop is underway and the flowers are becoming a more prominent feature of the plant.  If you get close you can smell the distinctive witchhazel scent; although it as not as strong as for the hybrid, H. x intermedia, and Vernal Witchhazels, H. vernalis.

In this close-up you can see the 'wart' on the leaf that is actually a gall caused by the witch hazel aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis).  There are some stories that link the name of the plant to resemblance of these galls to the imagined warts on a witch's nose.


Laurrie said...

I love all the witch hazels, and have planted the common as well as the early spring bloomers. I need to go out into the meadow to check if there are any blooms on my fall blooming hamamelis. It's still in leaf, but is starting to color up. You really need to get close to see any flowers!

THB Farm (Ellen S) said...

The blooms on the native witch hazel are always a pleasant surprise this time of year....nice post and good info about the gall...