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CORYLUS avellana

Image of Corylus avellana

Jesse Saylor

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

CORYLUS avellana

Plant Common Name

European Filbert, Filbert, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, Hazelnut

General Description

Prized for its delicious hard-shelled nuts, European filbert is a small tree to large shrub that originates from the whole of Europe as well as western Asia. Wild plants exist in open woods and hedgerows where they grow in a wide range of soil types. Hazelnuts have been in cultivation for thousands of years and many cultivars exist--most bred to produce high quality nut crops. The woody, oblong nuts ripen in mid to late autumn and are eaten by wildlife as well as people. The European filbert is the chief species grown commercially for hazelnuts, and the nuts are prized for fresh eating, baking and candy-making.

A hardy, deciduous tree, European hazelnut produces rounded or heart-shaped leaves with double serrated edges. The leaves are deep green and turn shades of yellow, green and brown in fall. Trees are monoecious, which means single plants either have all male or all female flowers. The conspicuous male flowers are drooping yellow catkins that bloom in late winter or early spring, before the leaves emerge. Female trees bear tiny yellow flowers around the same time as the male flowers, and generate hazelnut fruits over the course of the season. The nuts are wrapped in green, leafy sheaths that turn brown as the nuts ripen. Hazelnuts are usually ready to harvest in mid- to late-fall. Wild specimens often sucker and form dense thickets.

For best nut production plant trees where there's plenty of sun and soil is fertile with average to good drainage. Prune suckers off as needed, and thin shrubs regularly to keep them manageable. When planting for fruit, be sure to include a male pollinator to ensure good cross pollination. Fruiting cultivars very widely in nut size, crop size and fruiting time--some are early producers while others are late. A few selections are planted just for their ornamental value. The most popular of these is the male-flowering 'Contorta', which has fantastically twisted branches that are especially appealing in winter months. Golden yellow catkins are produced in late winter before the leaves emerge.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green, Brown

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Foundation, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    No