At last it's flowered! . . .
#007 : Hamamelis mollis
Chinese Witch Hazel
A few years ago I bought Cliff a Witch Hazel as a Christmas present, we'd admired them in the beautiful Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey. It was in flower in flower when I bought it, but apart from the odd petal it hadn't flowered again until this year – and it's putting on a good show for us.
The fragrance is only really noticeable when the flower is warmed by the sun (or when you breath on it before sniffing).
Close up you can see the four deep burgundy red sepals of each little flower and the long yellow petals unfurl like golden silk streamers.
The medicinal Witch Hazel apparently comes from the bark of the North American Witch Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, which flowers in the Autumn. "Witch" derives from the Old English word "wice" meaning bendable, the early settlers found that the North American shrub could be put to similar uses as the Hazel they were familiar with back in England . . . for weaving into fences, baskets and wattle for building wall; and also for making dowsing rods – this use seemed to give Hazel rods magical powers and this may have given the name "Witch Hazel" a deeper meaning.
I haven't tried dowsing with Witch Hazel rods . . . a bent wire coat hanger works just fine for me.