Spots tend to be irregular brown shaped spots with purplish edges on the upper leaf surface. At the same time, there is a lighter brown spot on the lower surface. Spots may merge to cause larger brown dead areas (blight) that can encompass the entire leaf. This disease tends to make witchhazel an undesirable, up-close landscape plant.
The pathogen overwinters on dead plant material. It is spread to new plant tissue by wind and rain.