Fothergilla major (common name: witch-alder)
Fothergilla is a deciduous shrub native to the southeastern U.S. As its common name suggests, it is a relative of our native witch-hazel. I love this plant because there is nothing else like it, with its bottlebrush-like, white flowers that bloom in April here in the Piedmont of N.C.
Close up of flowers taken this morning
Witch-alder can be planted in sun or part shade and is very low maintenance. We use them as foundation shrubs in front of some evergreen Japanese hollies (ilex crenata) put in by the previous homeowners. The dark green of the hollies creates a great backdrop for the Fothergilla's white flowers and striking fall foliage. The flowers also have a lovely honey-like scent, which is nice to have by the front entrance.
Fall foliage adds another season of interest
The genus is named for John Fothergill, an 18th century Quaker physician from Essex, England who was an early collector of American plants.