I heard in the night a snapping sound, and the fall of some small body on the floor from time to time. In the morning I found it was produced by the witch-hazel nuts on my desk springing open and casting their seeds quite across my chamber, hard and strong as these nuts were.
Â Thoreau, Henry David. 1998. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. N.Y.: Penguin Classics
Hamamilis L.Witch Hazel (ancient Greek name for a similar plant).
Hermaphrodite, or polygamous shrubs or small trees, twigs somewhat zig-zag,slender, stellate tomentose when young, becoming glabrate,pith small, buds oblong, flattened, stalked, naked,and pubescent, leaf scars half-round 10 3-lobed, bundle traces 3, stipule scars unequal; leaves short petioled, ovate, elliptic or obovate, oblique and rounded or subcordate at the base, sometimes stellate pubescent beneath, coarsely toothed; flowers perfect or imperfect, yellow, sessile in small, capitate clusters on short peduncles in the leaf axils, calyx with several bracts at thebase,pubescent, lobes 4,ovate,petals 4, long and narrow, stamens 4,short, alternating with 4 scale-like staminodes, styles short; capsule oblong, densely pubescent, each locule I -seeded. -Wild!.
I.H. virginid naL. (Virginian). Rich, moist woods.October-November; fruit ripen a year later. Fig. 590, Map 1251. Preparations made from twigs, leaves and bark have long been used to sooth cuts, bruises and insect bites, as well as a variety of other ailments, including varicose veins; first introduced to the settlers by the Indians.-FAC·
Flora of the Northeast: A Manual of the Vascular Flora of New England and Adjacent New York