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In the photo you see a Shina-mansaku or Chinese flowering witch hazel tree. The trees are flowering around now, but I found some in the flowershop. The Japanese Witch Hazel or mansaku (Hamamelis japonica) is a small deciduous tree 5-6 m high with toothed leaves that show bright yellows and reds in the fall. It grows wild all over the mountains of Japan and are admired for the shaggy strappy yellow flowers on the bare branches.

A close-up photo of bonsai version is here

More info at Linda Inoki’s article pasted below.

IN BLOOM

Shina-mansaku (Chinese witch hazel)

By LINDA INOKI

Image
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still, No longer blown hither and thither; The last long aster is gone, The flowers of the witch hazel wither. The heart is still aching to seek, But the feet question: Whither?
From the poem “Reluctance,” by American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The spidery flowers of Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) have many fans in the gardening world. These shrubs flower on bare stems, and in a mature specimen the mass of golden-yellow blooms can light up a winter garden. In common with many winter-flowering plants, Chinese witch hazel sends out a sweet fragrance, and a few twigs brought into the house will help dispel the winter blues. In addition, the leaves turn gold and russet in autumn. There are only a few species of witch hazel, and these are native to the temperate regions of China, Japan and North America. For centuries people have used the bark to make a soothing lotion for the skin and eyes, and witch hazel is still an important ingredient in some cosmetics. The unusual English name is probably not connected to the world of spells and broomsticks, but comes from the old Saxon word wych, meaning “drooping,” since the shrubs droop slightly when compared to the British hazel tree. In Japanese, Shina is an old term for China, and mansaku roughly translates as “makes a million.” This derives from an old belief that a good show of the flowers in winter indicates a good rice harvest to come.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006
(C) All rights reserved
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