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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Saxifragales

Familia: Hamamelidaceae
Subfamilia: Hamamelidoideae
Genus: Fothergilla
Species: F. gardenii –F. major – F. milleri – F. parvifolia
Extinct species: †F. durhamensis – †F. malloryi – †F. praeovata


Fothergilla Murr., in J.A.Murray (ed.), Syst. Veg. ed. 13: 418 (1774).

Type species: Fothergilla gardenii L.


Anamelis Garden, L. Corresp. 1: 340, 599 (1821)
Abrophaes Raf., Sylva Tellur. 99 (1838)

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Southeastern USA
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Murray, J.A., 1774. Systema Vegetabilium Secundum Classes Ordines Genera Species cum Characteribus et Differentiis. Editio decima tertia: 418

Additional references

Haynes, J.E., Phillips, W.D., Krings, A., Lynch, N.P. & Ranney, T.G. 2020. Revision of Fothergilla (Hamamelidaceae), including resurrection of F. parvifolia and a new species, F. milleri. PhytoKeys 144: 57–80. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.144.49589Open access Reference page.
Radtke,Meghan G., Pigg, Kathleen B., & Wehr, Wesley C. (2005); "Fossil Corylopsis and Fothergilla leaves (Hamamelidaceae) from the Lower Eocene flora of Republic, Washington, U.S.A., and their evolutionary and biogeographic significance" International Journal of Plant Science 166(2):347–356


Hassler, M. 2021. Fothergilla. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 January 13. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Fothergilla in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 January 13. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Fothergilla. Published online. Accessed: 13 January 2021.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Federbuschsträucher
suomi: Höyhenpensaat

Fothergilla (witch alder) is a genus of two or three species of flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae, native to woodland and swamps of the southeastern United States.

They are low-growing deciduous shrubs growing to 1–3 m (3–10 ft) tall with downy twigs. The brush-like flowers are produced before the leaves in spring on terminal spikes; they do not have any petals, but a conspicuous cluster of white stamens 2–3 cm long. The leaves are alternate, broad ovoid, 4–10 cm long and 3–8 cm broad, with a coarsely toothed margin; they are noted for their brilliant orange or red fall colors.[1]

Flowers of F. major

Fothergilla gardenii dwarf witch alder
†Fothergilla malloryi (Extinct, Ypresian, Klondike Mountain Formation)[2][3]
Fothergilla major large witch alder
Fothergilla monticola Alabama witch alder; commonly included in F. major


The genus was named in honor of the English physician and plant collector Dr. John Fothergill (1712-1780) of Stratford, Essex, who was known for introducing American plants to Britain.[4]
Cultivation and uses

Fothergillas are grown as ornamental plants for their spring flowers and fall foliage color. They are slow-growing, rarely exceeding 1–2 m tall in cultivation. The hybrid cultivar Fothergilla × intermedia 'Mount Airy' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[5]

RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
Meghan G. Radtke; Kathleen B. Pigg; Wesley C. Wehr (2005), "Fossil Corylopsis and Fothergilla Leaves (Hamamelidaceae) from the Lower Eocene Flora of Republic, Washington, U.S.A., and Their Evolutionary and Biogeographic Significance", International Journal of Plant Sciences, 166 (2): 347, doi:10.1086/427483
Jianhua Li and Peter Del Tredici (2008), "The Chinese Parrotia: A Sibling Species of the Persian Parrotia" (PDF), Arnoldia, 66 (1): 5, ISSN 0004-2633
Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 169
"Fothergilla × intermedia 'Mount Airy'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 July 2020.

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