Field of Science

Friday Fabulous "Flower" - Winter Hazel

Winter hazel (Corylopsis spicata or related species) is a member of the witch hazel family and it's shrubby habit and growth are similar to witch hazel's. But winter hazel differs in one important respect; it has a much bigger and more dramatic floral display. An inflorescence of flowers, each with 5 pale yellow petals, dangles out of a large bud whose pale green bud scales add to the display. The shrub itself does best in sheltered areas here in the great midwest, it fact that may be the only place it does well at all. Although graceful in appearance, the shrub is not robust, so heavy snow can break twigs, and the bunnies love it having pruned mine back two or three times. The foliage is attractive and it grows in semi-shady to shady areas, and although Dirr rates it as zone 5 hardy, that's maybe a tad optimistic. -19 F produced some twig dieback. Winter hazel is a slow grower and probably won't get over 8-10 feet tall ever, with a similar spread. But it's a lovely floral display in the early spring.

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