Corylus americana: hazelnut

Also known as the Eastern Hazel or American Hazel. 

Family: Betulaceae [birch], part of the fagoid group [with oaks].

Form: large shrub (10-15 ft tall), suckering to make dense thickets.

Range: eastern North America; widespread in Kentucky but local.

Habitat: thin woods, edges, brushy old fields, and formerly in the "barrens"; on average soils, but much less frequent at fertile or infertile extremes; moderately tolerant of droughts and dampness.

Consumers: nuts potentially gathered by humans around settle-ments, but rapidly and thoroughly taken by squirrels or other animals in early fall, usually preventing regeneration; leaves are bitter with tannins and browsing-resistant; few pest or disease problems.

Growing notes: suckered stems can be transplanted in winter, but seed is almost impossible to gather without caging; hazel has much potential for native landscaping and restoration, but it is rarely used.

American Hazel seeds
Hazel seed pods. Image:


American hazel leaves and flower
Hazel leaves and flower. Image:


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