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Nature In The Natural State: Ozark Witch Hazel

Here in Arkansas, we’re lucky to have native blooms almost year round, if we know what to plant. The brilliant red flowers of late blooming Turk’s Cap go strong into early December or the first hard frost.

One of the first native spring bloomers, if not the first, is Ozark witch hazel (hamamelis vernalis). Flowering begins in January. Its fragrant orange-yellow blooms with their ribbon-like petals are bright spots in the winter landscape.

On very cold days, they roll up and close. New leaves are reddish purple, and in the fall turn a butter yellow color. Dowsers in the Ozarks often used forked branches of this shrub as dowsing rods.

Ozark witch hazels are drought tolerant and make good specimen plants.