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A genus of two species of deciduous shrubs from eastern N. America, which commemorates Dr John Fothergill, who in the 18th century cultivated in his garden at Stratford-le-Bow, in Essex, one of the earliest and most extensive collections of American plants. They are allies of the witch-hazels, and their flowers appear before the leaves in bottle-brush like spikes terminating short branches. Their sole beauty is in the numerous long stamens. There are no petals, and the seed-vessel is a downy, hard-shelled capsule, opening at the top and containing two seeds.

The fothergillas give beautiful autumn colour and are chiefly grown for that, but are not suitable for limy soils and prefer one that is light and peaty. They colour best if grown in a sunny position. Propagation is by layers; or by cuttings, taken in June or July and rooted in bottom heat.

Species articles