Corylopsis pauciflora
Common Name: winter hazel 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Native Range: Japan, Taiwan
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

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. Flower buds are susceptible to damage from early spring frosts. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. This plant may not be reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where it should be sited in a sheltered location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Corylopsis pauciflora, commonly called buttercup winter hazel, is native to western Japan and Taiwan. It is a dense, spreading, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows 4-6’ tall and features small drooping clusters (racemes to 1 1/4” long) of mildly fragrant primrose yellow flowers in early spring. Each raceme usually has 2-5 flowers, with abundant racemes per shrub. Flowers appear before the leaves unfold. Fruit is an inconspicuous two-beaked capsule, with each cell containing two small seeds. Ovate, bright green leaves (to 3” long) have distinctive sunken veining and some marginal teeth. Leaves turn variable but usually unexceptional shades of yellow to yellowish-green in fall. Buttercup is in reference to the fragrant yellow flowers. Corylopsis is closely related to and in the same family as witch hazel (Hamamelis).

Genus name comes from the Greek words korylos meaning hazel and opsis meaning like for leaf resemblance to Corylus.

Specific epithet means paucity of flowers in reference to the small number of flowers per raceme.

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. Although not overly ornamental, it is a good addition to shrub borders or woodland gardens.