Another Perfect Plant: Hamamelis virginiana

Hamamelis virginiana.jpg

Witch hazels (Hamamelis virginiana and others) are a group of deciduous late winter or early spring flowering understory shrubs. The yellow, red, or orange flowers (depending of species, cultivar or hybrid) are a cheery addition to the garden at a time when not much else is blooming.

Seed dispersal can be explosive (literally exploding off the plant), but the question of pollination remains – how does a flower get pollinated when it is too cold for pollinators to be around? A partial answer: Owlet moths visit the flowers during the evenings on chilly nights. These moths have developed a thermoregulation technique similar to a human behavior – shivering. This shivering is an incredibly fast wing vibration that raises their body temperature enough for them to fly. Pollination occurs and seeds are dispersed in the spring.

References:
Pacific Horticulture
Venerable Trees
The Company of Biologists

Photo reference:

Mt. Cuba Center

 

Paul Cady

Paul is a landscape designer with a professional background in public horticulture. His years of experience maintaining both public and private gardens provide an informed perspective on choosing, arranging, and placing plants in the landscape. He is committed to creating landscapes that will survive and thrive over time through making informed plant choices and developing written landscape management plans.