|Beaked hazel foliage|
|Natural range of Corylus cornuta|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,629 kJ (628 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||9.8 g|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Corylus cornuta, the beaked hazelnut, is a deciduous shrubby hazel found in most of North America, from southern Canada south to Georgia and California. It grows in dry woodlands and forest edges and can reach 4–8 metres (13–26 ft) tall with stems 10–25 cm (4–9 3⁄4 in) thick with smooth gray bark. The leaves are rounded oval, coarsely double-toothed, 5–11 cm (2–4 1⁄4 in) long and 3–8 cm (1 1⁄4–3 1⁄4 in) broad, with hairy undersides. The flowers are catkins that form in the fall and pollinate in the following spring.
Corylus cornuta is named from its fruit, which is a nut enclosed in a husk with a tubular extension 2–4 cm (3⁄4–1 1⁄2 in) long that resembles a beak. Tiny filaments protrude from the husk and may stick into, and irritate, skin that contacts them. The spherical nuts, which are surrounded by a hard shell, are edible though small. The beaked hazel is the hardiest of all hazel species, at its northern limits surviving temperatures of −50 °C (−58 °F).
There are two varieties:
- Corylus cornuta var. cornuta – Eastern Beaked Hazel. Small shrub, 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) tall; 'beak' longer, 3 cm (1 1⁄4 in) or more.
- Corylus cornuta var. californica – Western Beaked Hazel or California Hazelnut. Large shrub, 4 to 15 m (13 to 49 ft) tall; 'beak' shorter, usually less than 3 cm (1 1⁄4 in). The Concow tribe called this variety gōm’-he’’-ni (Konkow language).
The seeds are dispersed by jays and rodents such as red squirrels and least chipmunks. Although C. cornuta is somewhat shade tolerant, it is more common in forests with fairly open canopies than denser ones. However, it is intolerant of entirely open areas that get hot and dry. Fire kills the above-ground portion of the shrub, but it resprouts fairly readily after fire, and in fact American Indians in California and Oregon used fire to encourage hazelnut growth, as they used hazelnuts for food, baskets, medicine, and other purposes.
- "Corylus cornuta" (PDF). Alberta Centre for Reclamation and Restoration Ecology. University of Alberta. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- Fryer, Janet L. (2007). "Corylus cornuta". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory – via https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/.
- Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 405. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- Media related to Corylus cornuta at Wikimedia Commons
- Sawyer Jr., John O. (2012). "Corylus cornuta subsp. californica". In Jepson Flora Project. Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
- Corylus cornuta in the CalPhotos Photo Database, University of California, Berkeley