Witch Hazel – Organic – Hamamelis virginiana
Witch Hazel Bark comes from witch hazel, scientifically known as Hamamelis. A genus of flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae, with four species in North America (H. mexicana, H. ovalis, H. virginiana, and H. vernalis), and one each in Japan (H. japonica) and China (H. mollis). The North American species are occasionally called winterbloom. The witch-hazels are deciduous shrubs or (rarely) small trees growing to 10–25 feet (3.0–7.6 m) tall, rarely to 40 feet (12 m) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, oval, 2–6 inches (5.1–15.2 cm) long and 1–4 inches (2.5–10.2 cm) broad, with a smooth or wavy margin. The genus name, Hamamelis, means “together with fruit”, referring to the simultaneous occurrence of flowers with the maturing fruit from the previous year. H. virginiana blooms in September-November while the other species bloom from January-March. Each flower has four slender strap-shaped petals 3⁄8–3⁄4 inch (0.95–1.91 cm) long, pale to dark yellow, orange, or red. The fruit is a two-part capsule 3⁄8 inch (0.95 cm) long, containing a single 1⁄4 inch (0.64 cm) glossy black seed in each of the two parts; the capsule splits explosively at maturity in the autumn about 8 months after flowering, ejecting the seeds with sufficient force to fly for distances of up to 30 feet (9.1 m), thus another alternative name “Snapping Hazel”.
The leaves and bark of the North American Witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana may be used to produce an astringent, also referred to as witch hazel. This plant extract was widely used by Native Americans and is a component of a variety of commercial healthcare products. Witch hazel hydrosol is used in skin care.
Country of origin: United States
Safety: External Use only