Shrub Of The Week

Whether you call this a large shrub or a small, multi-stem tree, this early bloomer is always a welcome sight. Witch hazel is often taken for forsythia, but those won’t be blooming until April. There are several species of witch hazel — including one that blooms in the fall — this is likely Chinese witch hazel, or Hamamelis mollis.

Hamamelis mollis, commonly called Chinese witch hazel, is an open, upright medium to large, deciduous shrub which typically matures to 10-15’ tall with a rounded shape. It is native to forests and thickets in southeastern and southwestern China. This species produces the most fragrant flowers of all the witch hazels. It was first introduced into cultivation in England in 1879 from seed collected in China by Charles Maries, British plant explorer.

A commonly available cultivar is Arnold Promise from the Arnold Arboretum in Boston.

Yellow-orange to yellow fall color can be quite attractive. . . A Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain Award of Garden Merit plant (1993).


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