Witch Hazel, an ornamental shrub that grows 6 to 30 feet (1.8 to 9 m) in height. "Witch" comes from the Old English word "wych," used to describe a plant whose branches bend easily; "hazel" refers to the flowers, which are dull yellow or golden-yellow. Some varieties have orange or red flowers. Depending on the species, the flowers appear in autumn, winter, or early spring; they are particularly resistant to cold weather. The leaves are oval and have toothed edges.
There are about six species of witch hazel, including the common witch hazel of eastern North America and the Chinese witch hazel. An extract of the leaves, twigs, and bark of witch hazel is used to relieve pain and as a face lotion.
Witch hazels belong to the witch hazel family, Hamamelidaceae. The common witch hazel is Hamamelis virginiana; the Chinese witch hazel is H. mollis.