Asked April 16, 2020, 9:59 AM EDT

Could you please identify the plant/tree/flower that is in the picture below. Could it be Witch Hazel or Japanese Kerria? Thank you

Gladwin County Michigan

2 Responses

This appears to be a bloom of the shrub known as Japanese Rose (Kerria Japonica). It is not a rose in the traditional sense, as it does not belong to the genus Rosa. But it is a member of the very large rose family. This bush puts on a display when in bloom for up to six weeks in April and May. It blooms on old wood, so do any necessary pruning right after its spring flowering is finished. If you prune later in the season, you might remove flower buds for the next year.

Kerria Japonica is one of the few plants that will bloom profusely in a shaded area. It blooms on old wood in early-to-mid spring; prune just after its spring flowering is over. A second flowering later in the growing season is not unusual, but it is too late to prune at that point (you would lose out on next year's flowers because you would be removing the flower buds). Prune out dead branches as you find them. Old plants in need of rejuvenation pruning may be cut down to ground level. Japanese rose spreads by suckering; remove suckers as they occur if you wish to control its spread. In fact, the main problem with this plant is that it spreads so vigorously (a drawback for those seeking low-maintenance landscaping. Stay ahead of it with regular sucker removal.

I'd like to offer a different answer to your question...

As I closely look at the photo background, this photo looks like it was taken in a natural setting when there were no leaves on the plant. Kerria is a non-native plant that flowers in the spring but does so when there are leaves on the stem. While is can be easy to confuse Kerria with other plants, the plant in this photo is actually one of our native spring-bloomers known as spicebush, Lindera benzoin. Here is additional information on this plant: