Plants, Surry County, Virginia Surry County Virginia Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
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"Plant Mystery" Solved! Virginia Native Plant Society members identify it as Witch Hazel.

Mystery Plant found in March 2001

Leaves, flowers and seed pods from a wild shrub growing beneath tall trees on a wooded slope above a swamp. The plant grows in clumps of about five upright stems reaching to a height of about twelve feet. Bark is smooth, pale tan to light gray, with some spotting and roughness on older trunks, which range in diameter from about one to three inches. Trunks branch out at the top, but there are no lower branches.

Tiny "greenish flowers" were observed on leafless branches in early March. Some plants had these "flowers" and others did not. Seed pods from previous year clung to branches, even after leaves developed in April and May.

UPDATE! Mystery Plant Identified!

Thanks to the Virginia Native Plant Society, the Mystery Plant has been identified as Common Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). The "tiny greenish flowers" were all that remained of flowers that had inch long yellow petals when in bloom. See below.


Flowers spotted!

On November 2nd, 2002, as the leaves were starting to turn yellow, the Witch Hazel bloomed! Yellow petals were long and thin. Flowers opened amid small clusters of small buds.
Photos by Eve Gregory, March 2001, November 2002.

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