Vernal or Ozark witch hazels, although native from Missouri to Texas, are fully hardy in the Chicago area and are a welcome harbinger of spring. These are medium-sized shrubs or small trees with an upright stiff habit. The leaves are large and irregularly toothed. The flowers are small thread-like yellow petals that emerge from a dark red calyx. Each flower has four petals, but they grow in tight clusters of three or four. The petals unfurl late in winter or early spring as soon as temperatures get above 40 degrees. If temperatures go below freezing, they curl up again. As the leaves develop the flowers fade, followed by inconspicuous woody seed capsules. AUTUMN EMBERS was selected by Klehm Nursery for its particularly intense burgundy fall color. These shrubs are maintenance free, with no reason to prune if properly placed.
January - February, March - April
Bedding or Border, Specimen Plant, Understory