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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Hamamelidaceae (witch-hazel family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Order: Saxifragales

Worldwide there are about 30 genera and 100 species, occurring sporadically over temperate and subtropical regions of both hemispheres. One genus and three species are native to southern Africa. An additional six genera and nine species are cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).


About five species, native to eastern tropical and southern Africa, with three species native to southern Africa.

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). Species is listed for genera with only one species cultivated.

Rhodoleia championii

Indigenous from China through to Indonesia.



Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweet Gum or Red Gum) is a common garden or roadside tree. Also grown is Liquidambar formosana (from China and Taiwan) and Liquidambar orientalis (Levant Storax, from Turkey and Greece).

Parrotia persica (Persian witch-Hazel)

Native to Iran and Azerbaijan.


Fothergilla major

Native to southeast USA.


Corylopsis spicata

Native to Japan.


Hamamelis (true witch-hazels)

Two species cultivated: Hamamelis molis (Chinese Witch-Hazel) from China, and Hamamelis virginiana (Virginian Witch-Hazel) from eastern USA.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Jordaan, M. 2000. Hamamelidaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 318. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.