This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Shrubs, with alternate leaves, and clustered lateral yellow bracted flowers, appearing in late summer or autumn. Calyx 4-parted, persistent, adnate to the lower part of the ovary. Petals 4, elongated, linear, persistent, or in the staminate flowers sometimes wanting. Stamens 4, alternating with 4 scale-like staminodia; filaments very short; anthers dehiscent by a valve. Ovary 2-celled; styles 2, short; ovules 1 in each cell, pendulous. Capsule woody, at length 2-valved at the summit. Seed oblong, its testa shining. [Greek, with the apple, flower and fruit being borne together.]
A genus of 3 known species, one native of eastern North America, the others of Japan.
Hamamelis virginiana L Sp. Pl. 124. 1753.
A shrub, or rarely a small tree with maximum height of about 250, the twigs slightly scurfy, or glabrous. Leaves short-petioled, obovate or broadly oval, obtuse or pointed at the apex, somewhat cordate and inequilateral at the base, stellate-pubescent, at least when young, 2'-5' long, thick, repand-dentate; flowers in axillary clusters, nearly sessile, bright yellow, appearing late in the season, when the leaves are falling and while the previous fruit remains; petals narrow, about 1/2" wide, 6"-9" long; calyx-lobes spreading or recurved, oval, ciliate, pubescent on the outer surface; capsule maturing the next season, beaked with the 2 persistent styles, densely pubescent, 3"-4" high, at length bursting elastically; seeds bony.
In low woods, Nova Scotia to Ontario, Minnesota, Florida, Texas. Wood hard; weight per cubic foot 43 lbs. Spotted-alder. Tobacco-wood, Snapping-hazel. Pistachio. Winter-bloom. Aug. - Dec. Jan.-March in the southwest.