Common Name: 
Witch Alder

A genus of two deciduous shrub species, F. gardenii and F. major; both are native to the southeastern U.S.  Most noticeable in spring when their bottle brush-spike flower heads appear before the leaves.   The two species are similar but F. major, relative to F gardenii, grows to a larger size, its flower spikes tend to be larger, its leaves are about 50 percent larger, and the toothing on the leaf margin near the tip is more pronounced.  In addition, F. major does not sucker, whereas F. gardenii is moderately suckering and can in time form small spreading colonies (Paul Cappiello, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky.
Fothergilla: after John Fothergill (1712-80), English physician and gardener with an interest in growing American plants