Hamamelis virginiana, commonly known as American witch-hazel, is a shrub or small tree native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota and south to Florida and Texas. It is a member of the Hamamelidaceae family.
The leaves of H. virginiana are oval-shaped and have wavy margins. The flowers are fragrant, with four narrow petals that are yellow to orange-red in color. They bloom from late fall to early winter, when most other plants have shed their leaves. The fruit is a woody capsule that contains one or two seeds.
The bark, leaves, and twigs of H. virginiana are used in traditional medicine for a variety of purposes, including as an astringent, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing agent. Extracts from the plant are also used in cosmetics and skin care products.
H. virginiana is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks, valued for its attractive flowers and fall foliage. It is also planted for erosion control, as it has a strong root system that can help stabilize soil on steep slopes.