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Fothergilla major (Mountain witchalder)
Makin, Julie

Fothergilla major

Fothergilla major (Sims) Lodd.

Mountain Witchalder, Mountain Witch-alder, Large Fothergilla

Hamamelidaceae (Witch-Hazel Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Mountain witch-alder or large fothergilla is a 6-12 ft., sometimes taller, deciduous shrub with picturesquely crooked, multiple stems. Dense, dark blue-green, leathery foliage becomes colorful in fall. The fragrant flower, appearing as a mass of stamens, is white and occurs in thimble-like, terminal spikes after the leaves have appeared.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often shorter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AL , AR , GA , NC , SC , TN
Native Distribution: Scattered populations in the s.e. states
Native Habitat: Rich, mt. woods; rocky ravines; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Acid, gravelly loams.
Conditions Comments: This plant is tremendously disease and insect resistant. It fits well in a woodland garden of azaleas and rhododendrons. To get the best floral and fall foliage display, give fothergillas as much sunshine as possible. Always avoid very dry sites.


Description: Semi-hardwood cuttings root with or without hormone. Rooted cuttings should not be moved until new vegetative growth is over an inch long or normal winter dormancy is completed. Sucker can be separated to increase the plant. Progagation by seed is tric
Seed Treatment: Seed requires at least a six month warm-moist period, followed by a three month period of cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Fothergilla major in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Fothergilla major in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Fothergilla major


Record Modified: 2022-10-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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