American Hazelnut

American Hazelnut

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Corylus americana
Betulaceae (birches)

Thicket-forming, spreading shrub, attaining a height of 3–10 feet.

Leaves alternate, simple, 2 l/2" - 6" long, broadly egg- to heart-shaped; edges coarsely doubly toothed; soft-hairy below. Leaf blade with 5–8 veins on each side of the central vein.

Bark brown to gray-brown, fairly smooth, the outer, thin layer slightly grooved.

Flowers February–April. Male flowers in yellowish catkins; female flowers inconspicuous along stem.

Fruit matures July–August; a globe-shaped nut enclosed in a leafy covering.

Height: 10 feet; spread: 8 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
American hazelnut, also called hazel or American filbert, grows in dense thickets on a wide variety of soils and sites. Often associated with white oak, black oak, hickory, gray dogwood, and blackberry.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide. Probably native to every county in Missouri.
Human connections: 
As an ornamental, it makes a good deciduous screen or barrier and has colorful autumn leaves. The nut is prized by cooks. This plant is also good for controlling erosion.
Ecosystem connections: 
Bobwhites, ruffed grouse, blue jays, squirrels, and white-tailed deer eat the nuts. The catkins of this species provide important winter food for ruffed grouse and white-tailed deer, which also browse on the twigs. In addition to giving food, this species also provides valuable cover for wildlife.
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