Much better than it looks: Corylopsis

corylopsis 1

One of the prettiest late-winter flowering shrubs is corylopsis and C. pauciflora, from Japan and Taiwan, is one of the nicest. The name means ‘like a hazel’ and, although you really wouldn’t guess it, this elegant shrub is in the hamamelis (witch hazel) family. Now I know that corylopsis is not the easiest of words to say, though once you have a go it is actually a pleasant experience.

I hang my head in sorrow when I see unnecessary and made up common names, rather like I do when the BBC finds another inane procedure to turn into a ‘**** off’ (please BBC, just because baking worked it does not mean that knitting, wallpapering or ironing will).

So this shrub is also called buttercup witchhazel (by the RHS – shame on you), and buttercup winterhazel. Why? No one ever called them that.

My photos will not convince you to grow it either because the maddening winds we have recently had have blown virtually all the petals off the flowers! But when in full bloom the spindly, spreading, twigs support hundreds of very short, pendent clusters of two or three small, pale yellow, sweetly fragrant blooms that are, in their abundance, quite showy. It will reach about 1.5m high and 2m across and prefers a slightly acidic soil that is moist and rich in humus but it is not too fussy: just don’t plant it in sunbaked, parched clay.

It is generally pretty hardy and the flowers usually open in March. Once it is established and a decent size you can underplant it with winter heathers, spring bulbs, bergenia or cyclamen. After flowering the foliage is dainty and elegant and it turns yellow in autumn before it falls.

corylopsis 2

Geoff’s rating

8/10

Garden Rating

7/10

7 Comments on “Much better than it looks: Corylopsis”

  1. joy
    February 12, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    theres nothing better than a bloody good rant …..we have to let off steam . small dogs that yap at six in the morning wind me up.

  2. derrickjknight
    February 12, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    I nearly read Geoff’s rating as Geoff’s ranting. Good on you

  3. joy
    February 12, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    lol derrick geoffs ranting ten out of ten

  4. Chloris
    February 12, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    I agree with you entirely about both Cameron and common names. Specially made up common names. I love beautiful Corylopsis, but it doesn’ t like me. I have killed 3. Perhaps my soil is not acidic enough, perhaps not moist enough. I do envy people who can grow it.

  5. sueturner31
    February 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    This is one for me, slightly acidic and sheltered, I have just the right place. And I agree with you on the tv programs …rubbish rubbish rubbish.

  6. thelonggardenpath
    February 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    A little perfumed gem that I have too – although it’s still small and not doing much yet! Can I assume then that you won’t be putting your name forward for the “Great British Dig Off”?!! 😉

    • thebikinggardener
      February 21, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

      Well I am sure it is just pacing itself 🙂 Gardening is all about patience – not people tasting jam as though it has been strained through a used sock or making a flower arrangement in a wheelie bin with flowers I have grown myself – so no I won’t be putting my name down!

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