They Are Where They Eat: WitchHazel


Witch Hazel Trees (Yellow Leaves)
Witch Hazel or Anamelis virginiana is a small deciduous tree that grows naturally in the eastern United States from north to south and as far west as the border of Texas.
The tree grows to a max height of around 15-20 feet and grows a dense bunch of stems from the base. The bark is a light shade of brown and its smooth. The leaves are oval with pronounced veins and when young are covered in a fine fur. As the leaves grow they become dark green on the top with a lighter shade underneath.
Witch Hazel Leaves
Witch Hazel Leaves in Autumn
The tree produces a yellow flower with a color that varies in intensity from plant to plant. They have four thin spindly petals and four stamens and they grow in bunches. One of the great things about this plant is that it blooms in the fall when most of us are in the woods which makes it easy to identify.
Witch Hazel Flowers
Native Americans produced a so called potion from the plant by boiling the woody stems and they used it to treat injuries. This was later adopted by early settlers and the plant is still widely used today. When you see witch hazel at the pharmacy or in the barbershop it comes from this plant.
As far as a food source. It is widely accepted that grouse will feed regularly on witch hazel particularly in the summer when they are not feeding primarily on Aspen. They feed mainly on the fruit and seeds. The fruit of the tree is dormant throughout the winter and develops through the rest of the year until it expels its seeds in autumn.
Witch Hazel Fruit

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