Corylopsis spicata
Common Name: winter hazel
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Native Range: China, Japan
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Lemon yellow with red-purple anthers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful

Culture

Best grown in acidic, light but organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates average garden soils, but not unamended heavy clays. Appreciates some afternoon part shade. Also appreciates protection from high winds. In St. Louis, this plant is best sited in a protected location. Flower buds/flowers are susceptible to damage from spring frosts. Prune as needed immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Native to Japan, spike winter hazel is a dense, spreading, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-8’ tall and to 6-10’ wide. Small drooping clusters (racemes to 2” long) of fragrant tiny lemon yellow flowers (each to 3/8” long) with red to purple anthers bloom in late winter to early spring (March-April in St. Louis) before the leaves unfold. Each raceme usually has 6-12 flowers, with abundant racemes per shrub. After bloom, ovate to obovate leaves (to 4” long) emerge bronze-purple, changing to blue-green later in spring. Leaves are glaucous and pubescent beneath. Fall color consists of unexceptional shades of yellow to yellowish-green. Fruit is an inconspicuous two-beaked capsule, with each cell containing two small seeds. Corylopsis is closely related to and in the same family as witch hazel (Hamamelis).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

As is the case with forsythia and witch hazel, winter hazel provides late winter to early spring bloom in the landscape. It is a good addition to shrub borders or woodland gardens.