It is common for Hamamelis vernalis to retain some (sometimes many) of its leaves throughout the winter. The dried, brown leaves add texture and character to the shrub during winter; however, the old leaves often obscure the delicate late winter to early spring flowers. Some gardeners have been known to go out and pick all the dead leaves off the plant to avoid this! Hamamelis virginiana may also retain leaves but it is more prevalent with the spring-blooming species.
Karren Wcisel, TreeTopics.com
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Hamamelidaceae, Hamamelis vernalis, vernal witchhazel, witch hazel, shrub, deciduous