|Monday Melange: American Hazelnut|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 24 March 2014|
American hazelnut ( Corylus americana) is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that is also known as an American Filbert. Its range extends throughout most of the eastern US as far west as Missouri and North Dakota and Louisiana, as far south as Georgia. Hazelnuts are cultivated commercially for their delicious nuts and are an important economic crop in much of the world.
While the nuts of American hazelnut are edible and sweet, it is not cultivated commercially. Its west coast counterpart in California, Oregon, Washington, California hazelnut Corylus cornuta, is sometimes grown commercially but more often it is the Turkish Hazelnut ( C. corlurna) that is used for growing nut crops in the US and around the world.
American hazelnut is hardy between USDA zones 4 and 9 and is a member of the Birch family (Betulaceae). The showy catkin flowers--males are brown in color and females are inconspicuous--bloom in early spring. The edible nuts are about 1/2 inch in diameter and encased in a green husk that ripens to brown in the fall. American hazelnut grows to a height of 8 to 15 feet and almost as wide. It has attractive fall foliage with leaf colors ranging from scarlet to rosy-purple and orange to a yellowish-green.
American hazelnut is a good choice for naturalistic landscapes, as an informal nut hedge (there may be numerous suckers), or for a nut orchard. It does well when planted in full sun and in dry, difficult sites. Propagate via cuttings or seed.