mountain witch alder

Fothergilla major


Fothergilla latifolia (some sources still list this as the accepted name)
Fothergilla monticola
Fothergilla alnifolia var. major

Other Common Names

tall fothergilla, large witch-alder

Plant Type

Shrub (less than 10 ft)

Life Cycle


Typical Size

6-10 ft. tall
5-9 ft. wide

Tolerant of

Deer, Drought

Inolerant of

Poorly Drained Soil


By cutting, By division

Plant Propagation Notes

Semi-hardwood cuttings will root with or without rooting hormone. Wait for about one inch of new growth before moving. Root suckers can be divided off to create new plantings.


No serious disease or insect issues.

Wildlife Benefits

Nectar/pollen source for pollinating insects


Leaves alternate. Leaf blade broadly elliptic or somewhat obovate and asymmetric at the base. Denticulate leaf margins. Dark green leaf surfaces, gray/white undersides. Pubescent veins. Approximately 2-4 inches long by 1-3 inches wide.


Flowers lack petals. Spiked clusters of long, showy stamens about 1-3 inches tall.


Capsules with horn-like projections.


No known toxicity.

Fothergilla major

USDA Hardiness Zones

4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Light Exposure

Full Sun, Part Sun/Shade

Soil Moisture

Medium, Moist

Soil Drainage


Soil pH

Acidic (less than 6.0)

Native in South Carolina?


Plant Native Habitat

Bluffs, dry rocky woodlands, talus slopes, riverbanks, upper piedmont to mountains.

Global Conservation Status (NatureServe)

Vulnerable (G3)

Federal Conservation Status (USFWS)

Not Listed

Distribution Notes

Rare in the SC Mountains and Piedmont and absent from the Coastal Plain.

Imperiled (S2) in South Carolina.