Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: MO, AR, eastern OK, TX.
Comments: Moist woods, margins and shores of streams.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Hamamelis vernalis
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hamamelis vernalis
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
It is a deciduous large shrub growing to 4 m tall, spreading by stoloniferous root sprouts. The leaves are oval, 7–13 cm long and 6.7–13 cm broad, cuneate to slightly oblique at the base, acute or rounded at the apex, with a wavy-toothed or shallowly lobed margin, and a short, stout petiole 7–15 mm long; they are dark green above, and glaucous beneath, and often persist into the early winter. The flowers are deep to bright red, rarely yellow, with four ribbon-shaped petals 7–10 mm long and four short stamens, and grow in clusters; flowering begins in mid winter and continues until early spring (the Latin word vernalis means spring-flowering). The fruit is a hard woody capsule 10–15 mm long, which splits explosively at the apex at maturity one year after pollination, ejecting the two shiny black seeds up to 10 m distant from the parent plant. Although often occurring with the related Hamamelis virginiana, it does not intergrade, and can be distinguished by its flowering in late winter (December to March in its native range), not fall.
Cultivation and uses
H. vernalis is valued in cultivation for its strongly scented flowers appearing in late winter, when little else is growing. Several cultivars have been selected, mainly for variation in flower color, including 'Carnea' (pink flowers), 'Red Imp' (petals red with orange tips), and 'Squib' (vivid yellow flowers).
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Hamamelis vernalis is restricted to the Ozark Plateau of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, often in close proximity with the more widespread H . virginiana . It is difficult to explain the restricted occurrence of H . vernalis in the Ozark area, although ancient geology of the area, with predominently Paleozoic rocks, makes it a well-known refugium. Hamamelis vernalis and H . virginiana are sympatric, sometimes growing within 30 m of each other, yet their identity is maintained, and the two species are easily distinguished through a composite of diagnostic characters (J. L. Bradford and D. L. Marsh 1977). Hamamelis vernalis shows an unusual color range of the flowers. Plants growing side by side commonly differ in flower color, varying from orange to deep red or, occasionally, deep yellow. Sometimes flower color varies on the same plant; e.g., petals that are initially deep red can later fade to yellow.
Hamamelis vernalis is not well known in cultivation and is infrequently planted. It is desirable for the fragrance and color variation of the flowers.
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