Saturday, February 1, 2020

Witch Hazel Flowering

Even in the dead of winter there are plants that have evolved to flower. Along with a random Snowdrop that came with an Easter bulb set one year, our Witch Hazel has decided to open up. I'm not sure if this is technically early for this species due to an unseasonably warm winter or fairly normal for this species but we're glad to see it flowering all the same. 

Normally Witch Hazel has yellow or orange flowers but many hybrids have vivid combinations there of the two. The Rare Find Nursery catalogue we get in the mail has about a page and a half devoted to assorted cultivars in lots of different colors. This particular one is called "Amethyst" and hues more on the purple/red side of the spectrum. 

Regardless of the cultivar, because they flower int he late fall mid winter range they're almost exclusively pollinated by flies. There are reports of honeybees working them too and I'm sure dozens of other little insects that over winter in the adult stage. These insects all require warm days above 45F in order to function, that's also when Witch Hazel plants produce a faint fragrance to attract them.

I'll be keeping my eyes out for any pollinators on our shrub. It's still fairly little though so I'm not expecting to get much.

Hope your winter is going well.