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CORYLUS americana

Image of Corylus americana

Jesse Saylor

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

CORYLUS americana

Plant Common Name

American Filbert, American Hazelnut

General Description

American hazelnut is a tough, deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub that produces crops of sweet, tasty hazelnuts in fall. It’s a wild and informal plant ideal for more naturalistic edible landscapes. Populations exist across much of eastern North America, save very southerly states like Florida and Texas. In the wild, they favor upland sites such as hillsides, elevated forests and old fields.

The oval leaves are medium to dark green, have coarsely toothed edges and are fuzzy on top and downy underneath. In fall the leaves turn variable shades or yellow and/or deep red; some shrubs have more vibrant foliage than others. Each plant is monecious, meaning it has separate male and female flowers. These are produced in early spring. The female flowers are tiny and reddish brown and the male are conspicuous drooping yellow catkins. Wind carries the pollen to the female flowers and light green, hairy clusters of fruits develop shortly afterward. By late summer, the nuts can be harvested after their papery husks and the round hazelnuts or filberts within turn dry and brown.

Grow American hazelnut in full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate a wide range of well-drained soil types with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. It tends to sucker. New shoots can be pruned at any time, and older stems are best pruned in fall. This is a fairly pest and disease free shrub that provides food to people and wildlife alike. Though unaffected by eastern filbert blight (Anisogramma anomola), it is a carrier of this disease that causes serious damage to European filberts (Corylus avellana), so these hazelnuts should not be planted together. Plant American hazelnut as a windbreak, screen or along the periphery of an edible garden. Keep in mind it will sucker.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Width

    11'-16' / 3.4m - 4.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Dark Red, Copper

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Foundation, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes