Fragrant Winterhazel - Corylopsis glabrescens – University of Copenhagen

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The Arboretum in Hørsholm > Plant Descriptions - Plant of the Month > Fragrant Winterhazel

Fragrant Winterhazel - Corylopsis glabrescens

English name: 
Fragrant Winterhazel 

Scientific name:
Corylopsis glabrescens
 

Family:
Hamamelidaceae (Witchhazel)
 

Height:
up to 6 m.
 

Flowering:
April
 

Range:
Japan, mountains
 

Corylopsis glabrescens
Corylopsis glabrescens Corylopsis glabrescens


The 25 year old Corylopsis glabrescens(yellow in centre of the photograph) can be found near the Arboretums collection of Aesculus trees, in square 1211 position 2923.

Plant description:
The genus Corylopsis comprises about 12 species and is one of 14 genera within the Witchhazel family.  The genus has a natural range from Bhutan to Japan.  The name, Corylopsis, refers to the Hazel-like leaves (Coryl = Hazel, opsis = like). All are deciduous shrubs with alternate leaves and woody seed capsules.  They produce cowslip-scented flowers before the leaves in the early spring.  They flower after Hamamelis in the early spring.  The Arboretums records indicate that at least one species can be multiplied from root suckers. 

Corylopsis glabrescens can be recommended for the woodland garden.  Although the flowers are not as showy as some of the other species in this genus they have an elegant, soft, beauty.  This species is reported to be the hardiest within the genus, which may be an advantage in a genus that has a reputation for suffering from damage by late spring frosts.  The species is reported to be first introduced into Denmark in 1934. Our oldest specimens (5-6 m tall) were planted in 1950. All of our wild-collected specimens were collected by the Nordic Arboretum Committee expedition to Japan in 1976. 

Leaves are alternate, roundish-ovate, short-pointed and more or less heart shaped at the base.  The distinctive characters for the species are: the entire absence of down or hairs on the flower stalks, the short racemes of 8 to 12 flowers, and the petals being longer than broad. 

References:
Rehder, A. 1947. Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs Hardy in North America.The Macmillan Co., New York. Pp 314-316 

Bean, W.J. 1976. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles. Vol I. 8th edition, The Royal Horticultural Soc. Publisher pp. 717-718. 

Lange, J. 1994. Kulturplanternes Indførelshistorie i Danmark. (Introduction History of Cultivated Plants in Denmark). Jordbrugsforlaget, Frederiksberg C. Pp.97.