The name Witch in witch-hazel has its origins in Middle English wiche, from the Old English wice, meaning "pliant" or "bendable". "Witch hazel" was used in England as a synonym for Wych Elm, Ulmus glabra; American colonists simply extended the familiar name to the new shrub. The use of the twigs as divining rods, just as hazel twigs were used in England, may also have, by folk etymology, influenced the "witch" part of the name. " Wikipedia
Everything is done blooming, even the geraniums in pots on the porch. It's late November. Winterberries rule accompanied by small golden apples littering the side of the road. There is still one more surprise, one more elegant moment for which I have been waiting.
Sometime in late October when it's leaves are still citron green , it begins - the long slow bloom of the witchazel. In a good year the blooms will last a month, ending reluctantly in December, leaving seed pods that may not explode until late in the following summer.
Two days ago we had snow in the night, three wet inches that are still hanging around. The days are terminally short now. The sun never gets above the trees at noon and fades by two. With only three or four protected leaves left dangling she's still not done. In some ways this is her most glorious time. Her grace, the flow of her soft brown branches is fully revealed and she is most emphatically enjewelled with filaments of gold. This is our native witchazel, undoubtedly worth waiting for.
The witch-hazels are deciduous shrubs or (rarely) small trees growing to 3–8 metres (9.8–26.2 ft) tall, rarely to 12 metres (39 ft) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, oval, 4–16 centimetres (1.6–6.3 in) long and 3–11 centimetres (1.2–4.3 in) broad, with a smooth or wavy margin. The genus name, Hamamelis, means "together with fruit", referring to the simultaneous occurrence of flowers with the maturing fruit from the previous year. H. virginiana blooms in September-November while the other species bloom from January-March. Each flower has four slender strap-shaped petals 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) long, pale to dark yellow, orange, or red. The fruit is a two-part capsule 1 centimetre (0.39 in) long, containing a single 5 millimetres (0.20 in) glossy black seed in each of the two parts; the capsule splits explosively at maturity in the autumn about 8 months after flowering, ejecting the seeds with sufficient force to fly for distances of up to 10 metres (33 ft), thus another alternative name "Snapping Hazel"." Wikipedia