witch hazel

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Related to witch hazels: Hamamelis, witch hazel plant

ham·a·me·lis

(ham'ă-mē'lis),
A shrub or small tree, Hamamelis virginiana (family Harmarmelidaceae), the bark and dried leaves of which have been used externally as an application to contusions and other injuries, in headache, and for the cure of noninflammatory hemorrhoids; the water, popularly known as "extract of witch hazel," is made from the bark and contains 14% alcohol.
Synonym(s): witch hazel
[Mod. L., fr. G. hama- mēlis, fr. hama, together with, + mēlon, apple]

witch hazel

n.
1. Any of several deciduous shrubs or small trees of the genus Hamamelis, especially H. virginiana of eastern North America, which has delicate yellow flowers that bloom in late autumn or winter.
2. An alcoholic solution containing an extract of the bark and leaves of this plant, applied externally as a mild astringent.
Drug slang A regional street term for heroin
Herbal medicine Hamamelis virginiana, snapping hazel, snapping hazelnut, spotted alder, winterbloom A shrub that contains choline, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, and fixed and volatile oils; it is astringent, and has been used topically for cuts and bruises, sore throat, dysmenorrhea, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. See Herbal medicine
Homeopathy See Hamamelis
References in periodicals archive ?
A JANUARY highlight for many gardeners is the sight of the intensely fragrant blooms of witch hazel lighting up plots.
Witch hazel offers even more than knock-out winter interest.
Witch hazel shrubs are rarely damaged by feeding deer.
Hamamelis mollis is the Chinese witch hazel and has the strongest perfume of the lot.
Perhaps the plant most people think of at this time of year is the witch hazel.
Witch hazels, botanically Hamamelis species, are plants of woodland edge, so they are at home in light shade, either as single plants or, in larger gardens, grouped along the edge of a shrubbery.
3Hamamelis x intermedia 'Moonlight' has buttery yellow flowers, with a maroon blotch in the centre, good foliage colour in autumn and, like other witch hazels, prefers neutral to acid soil.
Witch hazels need moist, well-drained neutral to acid soil.
The winter garden is also home to the Witch Hazels (Hamamelis mollis), one of China's most beautiful shrubs and usually in flower just before Christmas.
For anyone wanting to see witch hazels at their very best, I suggest a winter visit to the Kalmthout Arboretum in Belgium, where for 60 years they have been planted in large numbers by the de Belder family.
Although witch hazels are grown for their fragrant winter flowers, their brilliant buttery yellow autumn foliage cannot be ignored.
If the witch hazels have any detracting features, it is that many hold their old, dead leaves all winter.