Notable Features: The native common witch hazel is an understory tree/shrub that becomes leggy if it has to reach for light, but in the open, it develops into a graceful, spreading shrub about 20 feet tall. Its broad leaves turn a clear, bright yellow in the autumn. The abundance of pale yellow fall flowers that accompanies the foliage comes as a wonderful late-season surprise. The deceptively fragile-looking blossoms that appear near the end of October seem to keep winter at bay for weeks. Common in high dune country and on level ground in rich woods, Hamamelis virginiana needs a fine, moist, well-drained soil. Slow growth rate.
Attracts: The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract primarily flies and wasps, including biting midges (Forcipomyia spp.), non-biting midges (Cricotopus spp.), march flies (Bibio spp.), scuttle flies (Phoridae), flower flies (Syrphidae), Tachinid flies, flesh flies (Sarcophaga spp.), blow flies (Calliphoridae), Muscid flies, root-maggot flies (Anthomyiidae), grass flies (Chloropidae), dung flies (Scathophaga spp.), Braconid wasps, gall wasps (Cynipidae), Perilampid wasps, Pteromalid wasps, and Ichneumonid wasps. Other occasional visitors of the flowers include Halictid bees, Noctuid moths, flower bugs (Anthocoridae), and miscellaneous beetles. Other insects feed on the foliage, sap, developing seeds, and other parts of Witch Hazel. These species include seed-eating larvae of a weevil (Pseudanthonomus hamamelides), larvae of a bark beetle (Lymantor decipiens), a leaf beetle (Scelolyperus meracus), larvae of a gall fly (Asteromyia clarkei), various plant bugs (Miridae), a leafhopper (Eratoneura marra), the Witch Hazel Spiny Gall Aphid (Hamamelistes spinosus), the Witch Hazel Cone Gall Aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis), and another aphid (Aphis hamamelidis). In addition to these insects, larvae of the Witch Hazel Dagger Moth (Acronicta hamamelis) and several other moths also feed on Witch Hazel, primarily on its leaves.