American witch hazel thrives in temperate forests found in Northeastern America. Witch hazel has been sighted ranging as north as the southern border of Canada and as south as northern Florida. It can be found as east as the Appalachian Mountains and as west as Texas. Witch hazel living in the Southwestern parts of North America is typically found in moist and cool temperature areas including valleys and coves (Le et al. 2010). On the contrary, witch hazel living in Northern parts of North America is found in dry and warmer temperature environments. Witch hazel is very abundant in Wisconsin (PLANTS 2012).  The following map shows the areas of the United States where witch hazel can be found.

Habitat Map


As stated in the Reproduction section, witch hazel’s flowers bloom in late fall. In most environments where witch hazel lives, during late fall, temperatures can vary greatly and can dip very low. When the environmental temperature dips too low, below freezing, the four petals found on the witch hazel flower can curl up into a ball like structure. This will act as protection to the flowers reproductive organs so they will not freeze, which would lead to plant death (Byers 2006).

Because witch hazel thrives in temperate forests it is found in similar habitats of a lot of pines, ash trees and cottonwoods. All of these species also thrive in moderate moisture and temperatures. Most of the pine and ash species found in the same forests tower over the witch hazel shrubs. The average witch hazel shrub will only reach roughly four meters or thirteen feet in height while pines can reach up to 45 meters tall. These taller trees block a lot of the sunlight reaching the witch hazel shrubs. However, this will not affect the health of the witch hazel shrubs for the zigzagging pattern of the witch hazel branches separates the leaves. This leads to maximum exposure to the small amount of sunlight that reaches witch hazel shrubs.

Why does witch hazel need sunlight? Lets find out on the Nutrition page!