Family: Hamamelidaceae

witch hazel family

Plants in the Hamamelidaceae are deciduous shrubs or small trees with simple leaves that grow alternately along the stem. In our region, it is represented by a single species. The leaves are deciduous but most remain on the plant long into the winter (i.e., the leaves are marcescent). Beneath each leaf is a deciduous appendage called a stipule. The flowers are arranged in few-flowered arrays and are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical), 4-merous, and may have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts. The sepals are small and triangular, while the yellow petals are long and strap-like. The petals and sepals attach halfway up the ovary (i.e., the ovary is half-inferior). There are 4 stamens and 2 carpels. The fruit is a woody, dry capsule that opens along the top to release its seeds. Some species formerly considered to belong to the Hamamelidaceae are now placed in the Altingiaceae.

This Family’s Genera in New England:

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key