With its odd flower and ugly fruit

appearing at chilly Halloween, as a boy

I thought a witch named Hazel bewitched

the plant. Wych Hazel, bent twigs as divining rods,

the essence bottled in our medicine cabinet.



As Wych Elm (from “wiche” meaning bendable) twigs were used in England as divining rods, the New World hazel plant took the name and by that folk etymology may have influenced the “witch” part of the now common witch hazel name.


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