Scientific Name: Corylus americana

Common Name: American hazelnut

Other Common Names: American filbert

Synonyms: Corylus americana var indehiscens

Leaves: Leaves are deciduous, alternate, broadly oval with a heart-shaped or rounded base, 8-12(-15) cm long and 12 cm wide, acuminate, doubly serrate, hairy beneath, the petiole with stiff, glandular hairs.

Identifying Characteristics: Birch family (Betulaceae). Native shrubs growing 1-3(-4) meters tall, strongly rhizomatous and forming colonial thickets; main stems (or trunk) straight, with spreading, ascending branches, the twigs slender, zigzag, light brown, with numerous stiff, red-glandular hairs.

Flower Seed Head: Male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are separate, but both types present on each plant (the species monoecious); male flowers numerous in long, pendulous stalks (catkins) 8-10 cm long, in clusters of two or three near branch tips, appearing in the fall, but opening the following spring. Female flowers are several in a scaly bud, tiny and inconspicuous with only bright red stigma and styles protruding from the gray-brown buds, almost completely enclosed by bracts, near the end of the twigs.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is a light brown, acorn-like nut 1-2 cm long, wider than long, enclosed in two, leafy, coarsely toothed (husk-like) bracts. The common name reflects its being native to North America and hazel is from the Old English name for filbert

Where Found: Widespread in eastern North America, Maine west to Saskatchewan and North Dakota, south to eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Georgia, not found along the Gulf coast region.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Shrub

  • Plant family: Betulaceae