There’s an American Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) planted on the east side of the house. Rabbits chewed it to the ground every year before I protected it with hardware cloth. Then it bounded upward and quickly reached its current height of about 10′. It’s still growing, I think.
This is the first year I’ve noticed the Witch-Hazel flowers while they are in bloom. They’ve only just started to open in the last couple of days. Eccentric is a good descriptive adjective for the flowers. For one thing, the petals look like yellow twist ties, or those crispy noodles my mother used to buy in plastic bags (to be served with gloppy canned chow mein).
The flowers have 4 strappy petals and 4 triangular sepals at the base.
The other eccentric thing is that Witch Hazel starts blooming just as most autumn flowers are packing it in. Above you can see the flower petals in the process of unfolding.
Eventually the flowers turn into seed capsules that are favored by a number of bird species. I was also reading recently that Witch-Hazels are a preferred nesting tree for Indigo Buntings.
Witch-Hazel flowers also provide sustenance for late-season pollinators, including many wasp and hoverfly species.
Eventually the foliage is supposed to turn bright yellow, but the flowers often keep blooming even after the leaves have dropped.
That’s what I’ve read, anyhow. I’ll keep you informed.