Hazel
(Corylus avellana)
Simple
Roundish
Alternate
Toothed
Abrupt point
Simple
Roundish
Alternate
Toothed
Broadest at tip

leaves

Winter twig
Winter twig with male and female flowers

leaves and fruits
Fruits

male catkins
Male and female flowers

catkins

nut and leaves
Closeup of Hazel nut

distribution map

The alternate leaves are almost round but broadest near the tip which is often drawn out into a narrow point. They are 5-12 cm long, markedly double-toothed on the margins, softly hairy on both sides and with fewer than 8 pairs of veins. The leaf stalks are short, 8-15 mm.

ID check

Hazel is a  deciduous shrub up to 6 m high with several stems, often coppiced with a coppery-brown, scaly, peeling bark of woods, scrub and hedges on base rich to moderately acid soils ascending to 610 m.

The male and female flowers grow on the same plant and open from January to April before the leaves.

The male flowers are in long, drooping catkins 2-8 cm long in groups of 1-4: the females are small upright 'buds' c. 5 mm long with red styles.

Hazel nuts or cobs, up to 20 mm long, develop in clusters of 1-4, each surrounded by an enlarged, leafy, divided calyx longer than itself.

Facts

  • The pollen in spring attracts many flying bees.

  • The nuts are important food for squirrels, mice, pigeons, pheasants and jays.

  • Where stems are coppiced on a regular 7-14 year rotation they produce a valuable supply of rods for thatching, hurdles, bean poles and pea sticks.

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