Some kinds make small trees, but Corylopsis pauciflora is a shrub, 4 to 6 ft. high, with clusters of primrose-yellow, pleasantly scented flowers in March. It does best on lime-free soils and as a rule requires no pruning. Larger kinds are C. glabrescens, C. spicata and C. willmottiae, all with primrose-yellow flowers produced in little dangling chains along the bare stems in early spring.

Corylopsis is indigenous in China, Japan and Korea, and comprises winter-hardy, early flowering, ornamental shrubs. In contrast with Corylus, hazel, it does not bear catkins or fruit, though the leaves are similar. This is a deciduous shrub with slender, spreading branches, broad, oval or round, pointed, bristly-toothed leaves which turn a beautiful colour in autumn, and have a heart-shaped base, and pendent clusters of just a few or large numbers of yellow, bell-shaped flowers which appear before the leaves.

C. pauciflora is up to 1.5 m tall and flowers profusely. It has slender stems, oval, pointed, bright green leaves up to 5 cm long, greyish or bluish-green on the underside and turning golden-yellow in autumn, and fragrant, pale yellow flowers in groups of two or three. C. spicata is 1-2 m tall, with zig-zagging branches, thick shoots, oval, shield-shaped, metallic green leaves, 5-10 cm long, and narrow clusters of 7-10 fragrant, pale yellowish-green flowers with protruding red anthers. This plant is not suitable for a clay soil.

Plant in a sunny or slightly shaded spot, sheltered from the wind, in well-drained soil, rich in humus and poor in lime. It does not need pruning, but can be thinned out and rejuvenated by removing dead wood. Propagate by layering and from summer cuttings.

Corylopsis pauciflora

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