August 17, 2006
Common Witch Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana

This shrub is growing near the road next to the Water Department. The Steven Foster Group website describes the fruit of the Common Witch Hazel as follows:

Witch hazel produces a capsule-like fruit enshrining two shiny hard black seeds with white, oily, edible interiors. These nutty seeds were savored by Indians of the south. The flavor is like that of pistachio nuts. Witch hazel has a mechanical seed dispersal action. When mature, the seed capsules explode apart with a cracking pop, catapulting the seeds up to ten yards from the shrub. Remember this if you bring a bouquet of witch hazel twigs indoors when flowering in autumn. The seed capsules of the previous year are there at the same time. When they heat-up in the warm confines of a home, they will explode!