Even in the middle of a moderately cold winter there are plants flowering here at the Arboretum. This is a cultivar of the Chinese witch-hazel. Most witch-hazels that you encounter in the nursery trade are hybrids of the Japanese and the Chinese species. Dirr observes that the crosses exhibit hybrid vigor and produce stronger larger plants.
It is my observation that the Chinese species has a much stronger tendency to hold its foliage than either the Japanese or the hybrids but this is anecdotal on my part. I do remember though, two winters in the early 90s, spending several days on a ladder clipping off hundreds of brown leaves one at a time from a specimen of Hamamelis mollis that used to live at the entrance to the Asian Collections below the Dove Tree. That allowed visitors to enjoy the flowers without the distraction of brown leaves. We did some serious gardening back then! The curator, Lawrence Lee, who directed that project has long since departed, returning to his home state of California. The plant was also removed at some point during my absence, but I'm back! What can it mean?