|Blooming in late February in the southern Ozarks|
It is a deciduous large shrub growing to 4 m tall, spreading by stoloniferous root sprouts. The leaves are oval, 7–13 cm (2 3⁄4–5 in) long and 6.7–13 cm (2 5⁄8–5 1⁄8 in) broad, cuneate to slightly oblique at the base, acute or rounded at the apex, with a wavy-toothed or shallowly lobed margin, and a short, stout petiole 7–15 mm (0.28–0.59 in) long; they are dark green above, and glaucous beneath, and often persist into the early winter. The flowers are deep to bright red, rarely yellow, with four ribbon-shaped petals 7–10 mm (0.28–0.39 in) long and four short stamens, and grow in clusters; flowering begins in mid winter and continues until early spring (the Latin word vernalis means "spring-flowering"). The fruit is a hard woody capsule 10–15 mm (3⁄8–5⁄8 in) long, which splits explosively at the apex at maturity one year after pollination, ejecting the two shiny black seeds up to 10 m (33 ft) distant from the parent plant. Although often occurring with the related Hamamelis virginiana, it does not intergrade, and can be distinguished by its flowering in late winter (December to March in its native range), not fall.
Cultivation and uses
H. vernalis is valued in cultivation for its strongly scented flowers appearing in late winter, when little else is growing. Several cultivars have been selected, mainly for variation in flower color, including 'Carnea' (pink flowers), 'Red Imp' (petals red with orange tips), and 'Squib' (vivid yellow flowers).
- "Hamamelis vernalis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Meyer, Frederick G. (1997). "Hamamelis vernalis". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
- Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
- Meyer, Frederick G. (1997). "Hamamelis". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
- Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
- Native Plant Database profile, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Kemper Center for Home Gardening: Hamamelis vernalis
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