Thanks to Fritzi, our dog, I go for walks a lot. If it wasn’t for him, I would probably stay inside most of the time during winter, because the weather just doesn’t look too inviting. That would be too bad though! Once you start walking through all seasons, you’ll get to experience all the great changes and facets of nature. It can be so fascinating and you learn to apprechiate and love nature more and more. My favorite time to observe natures “magic” is spring.
I get excited every time the first flowerbuds appear on the trees and the first tulips peep out of the ground. This time has not arrived yet, but there is allready one plant that rings in spring, long time before it’s here! Today I learned about the plant that goes by the beautiful name “witch hazel”. The german name for it is “Zaubernuss” which actually means “magic nut”. I liked its name so much that I had to find out more about it. And in fact, there are many things that make this plant magical in a way. Here are some interesting facts:
- It’s North America’s only plant that wears its flowers, ripe fruit, and next year’s buds on its branches all at the same time. And that time is winter!
- It is known to be one of the first blooming plants in the year. It can bloom for about 6 weeks from december to march.
- Once the temperatures drop under 0°C/ 32°F, its petals roll up completely and unfold again when the temperatures rise.
- The fruit capsules open explosively and throw their two seeds about 10 yards away!
- Now also cultivated in Europe and Japan, the witch hazel is native to North America, where it has been used as a medical plant by native americans since ages.
- Also today it is used as a healing plant all over the world, mainly for skin problems like neurodermatitis or inflammations.
- Early pioneer settlers also used the green, flexible branches to locate underground water.
Lucky me, we have a witch hazel not far from where we live, so I walked by and took some pictures. An interessting plant, don’t you think?