Sunday, October 26, 2008

Witch Hazel


I was out to dinner the other day, and the topic of conversation fell to trees. I am not sure how we got there, fall leaves maybe. Anyway, I was telling my scary tree story, you know the one about the tree with the screaming face over by the dead boy bridge…. What, you don’t know about that tree or the dead boy bridge? Goodness, Ok. I’ll come back to that.

ANYWAY, the scary tree story led to a discussion of Halloween images-- crows, haunted houses, ghosts, witches, dead, gnarled, twisted branches raking a leaden sky, dusty tinctures with ancient peeling labels…people that go way overboard in decorating their houses and lawns. You get the picture. After everyone had named all their favorite iconic Halloween images and gossiped about their neighbors, there was a lull in the conversation. I offhandedly mentioned that speaking of tinctures, I have Witch-hazel growing on the property and although it is a leggy shrub, it could fit into the creepy tree category. Astonished by the lifted eyebrows and blank stares I started to tick off it unusual characteristics.


It has small snaky yellow blossoms in October when all other trees bloom in Spring.

It spits seeds for long distances rather than letting them fall to float on the wind.

The inner bark has long been used to brew a tincture to ward off skin ailments and relieve pain.

Its branches were and maybe still are used as dowsing rods to find water or minerals underground.

It is a rebel, grows wild in the woods….

The flow of conversation turned to Witch Hazel from Bugs Bunny abandoning the plant to conversational oblivion.

I like Witch-Hazel and I do have lots of it growing at the top of the property and it is in its glory right now.

3 comments:

deejbrown said...

Witch Hazel has long been one of my favorite native shrubs. It has such a personality all its own and grows to a different drummer!

Bill said...

Weird. I've seen this growing in the woods. I thought it was just an unusually warm fall and the plant got confused. Forsythia sometimes blooms in the fall.

Sparverius said...

I can't wait to hear the scary tree story. :)