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

Fothergilla gardenii.jpg
Fothergilla gardenii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Subfamily: Hamamelidoideae
Tribe: Fothergilleae
Genus: Fothergilla
  • Fothergilla gardenii
  • Fothergilla malloryi
  • Fothergilla major
  • Fothergilla milleri
  • Fothergilla parvifolia

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


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.[5]

Cultivation and usesEdit

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.[6]


  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ a b Haynes, Jake E.; Phillips, Whitney D.; Krings, Alexander; Lynch, Nathan P.; Ranney, Thomas 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.144.49589. PMC 7093572. PMID 32231461.
  5. ^ Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 169
  6. ^ "Fothergilla × intermedia 'Mount Airy'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 July 2020.

External linksEdit