Thursday, February 12, 2009

Witch Hazel

Amy Campbell, a long-time correspondent from Rockport, Maine, visits Central Park whenever she's in town. She has just sent in an early flower alert:

I just want to add something to your horticultural mentions - witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis, a native species although its naturally occurring range is more to the south and west. ( The fall-blooming species, Hamamelis virginiana, is native to the northeast) Maybe a lot of people would not even notice these demurely flowering shrubs whose kind of spidery blooms are about the earliest on a woody plant. They are an interesting color- just off-orange for the ones in CP, and so easy to walk right by, if one is distracted a bit by the snow drops flowering underneath several of the witch hazels at the top of Cedar Hill. They are in bloom right now and lightly fragrant

PS [from Marie] There are several other spots in the park where the witch hazel is blooming right now. One is near the Rustic Arch, a bit east of the newly restored Bank Rock Bridge

PPS. Amy played a role in the screech owl story I wrote about at length in Central Park in the Dark. Check her out in the book's index.