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Corylopsis

Winter Hazel
Hamamelidaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs

Asian natives valued for sweet-scented, bell-shaped, soft yellow flowers that hang in short, chain-like clusters on bare branches in early spring. New foliage that follows is often tinged pink; it later turns bright green. Toothed, nearly round leaves somewhat resemble those of hazelnut (Corylus); fall color varies from none to poor to a good clear yellow. Rather open structure with attractive, delicate branching pattern. Give the same soil conditions as you would rhododendrons. Grow in wind-sheltered location in a shrub border or at the edge of a woodland.

Corylopsis pauciflora (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Corylopsis pauciflora (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Corylopsis pauciflora

Native to Asia. Dainty habit to 4–6 ft. high and wide. Fragrant yellow blossom clusters are 1 3/4 in. long, each containing two or three blooms. Appears in early spring. Branches tend to be brittle; plant where it isn’t likely to be roughed up.

Corylopsis sinensis

A variable Asian species. The typical form is a spreading shrub to 15 ft. tall and wide, bearing crowded flower spikes to 2 in. long, but it can be trained as a small tree. Corylopsis sinensis sinensis (C. willmottiae) has velvety blue-green leaves, hairy leafstalks, and flower clusters to 3 in. long.

Corylopsis spicata
Corylopsis spicata

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Corylopsis spicata

Grows to 8 ft. high, 10 ft. wide. New growth is purple, maturing to bluish green; 6–12 blossoms in each 1 1/2-in.-long flower cluster.

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