Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Family: Witch Hazel (Hamamelidaceae)
Hardy to -20 degrees F.
Woody perennial bush to small tree native to the US. A sturdy and handsome addition to the medicinal landscape, with a multi-stemmed habit. The bright green leaves and young twigs, picked at the height of their glory and dried, produce the quintessential astringent. Water extracts or tinctures with low alcohol content and 10% glycerine thrown in to stabilize the tannins (see "Making Plant Medicine") prove to be very useful for treating hemorrhoids, herpes lesions, or any inflammatory conditions of the skin. Very nice way to tone up the waydown tissues after childbirth. Excellent post-operative swipe. Can be taken internally as well as used externally--nontoxic. The witch hazel bush itself is full of surprises, flowering in midwinter and waiting to eject its seed until autumn. Plant prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained, slightly acid soils. It likes to be able to get its roots down into the aquifer, so it can often be found growing in dried up riparian zones or in moist but well-drained woodlands. It does fine as a permaculture bush/tree in city lots or on the farm. Seed is quite hard and germinates best after some cold conditioning. Fall planted seed may germinate in a few months in a cold greenhouse, or if planted in the shadehouse or outdoor nursery bed will germinate in the spring. To sow in spring, plant early enough so that the seed experiences at least 30 days of cold moist soils, or give 30 days cold moist stratification in the refrigerator before planting. All this said, the germplasm is viable and robust, and given the right conditions the seeds do germinate reliably. Germination usually occurs between 30 and 90 days after planting. For all you farmers market plantseller type people, and nursery folks, a little tip--the plants develop quicly into saleability and in our experience tend to be bestsellers. Trees in a pot will evoke reminiscent smiles and ready purchases among a significant cross section of your customers, including housepeople, herbalists, grandfolks and eager gardeners everywhere.
Organically grown, 20 seeds/pkt.