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Cobnut Corylus avellana

Phonetic Spelling
KO-ril-us a-ve-LAH-na
Description

From the Greek word korylos, which means helmet, referring to the husk covering the nut.  Avella is derived from Avella Vecchia, a city east of Naples where cultivation was abundant.

Corylus avellana is a large deciduous shrub that is commonly known as the European Hazel. It is native to the British Isles, Western Asia, and as far south as the Iberian Peninsula. It is famous along with other species of the genus Corylus for its production of hazelnuts (cobnuts) though avellana is the most commonly used for production. It enjoys full sun conditions and produces suckers that may need to be pruned. The shrub produces a thicket of multiple shoots which can grow out of hand if not pruned.

In addition to the commercial produced variety, there are several varieties that can be used in the home landscape.  

Both male and female flowers can be found on this plant.  They bloom in late winter to early spring on the still bare branches.  The female flowers are inconspicuous, with only one tenth of an inch of red visible, while the male flowers can be somewhat showy with their greenish-yellow flowers a sight for the winter garden.  They become more yellow as they release pollen.  The male flowers can be found in the form of a catkin with the inconspicuous female flowers are just above the catkins.  

Grown in Europe for the production of nuts, the varieties or cultivars found in the US are typically lacking the desired taste.  They are however, roasted and eaten by some.  

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Nuts", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Insect, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Spreading by suckers, this plant can become weedy if the suckers are not removed.  The most common insect found on this plant is the Japanese beetle, that devour the leaves.  Eastern Filbert blight, black knot, crown gall, apple mosaic virus and leaf spot are something of an issue. 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Contorta'
    The stems and leaves are twisted
  • 'Fuscorubra'
  • 'Red Dragon'
    Burgundy catkins and leaf buds, rich, dark burgundy leaves
  • 'Red Majestic'
    Cultivar with purple-red foliage, compact variety
  • 'Rote Zeller'
    Catkins are red-purple, red leaves turn bronze-red in late summer
'Contorta', 'Fuscorubra', 'Red Dragon', 'Red Majestic', 'Rote Zeller'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#edible plant#shrub#showy fruits#hedges#nuts#thickets#European#catkins#edible fruits#rounded#suckers#clay soils intolerant#vhfn#vhfn-n#suckering shrub#suckering#thicket#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Contorta'
    The stems and leaves are twisted
  • 'Fuscorubra'
  • 'Red Dragon'
    Burgundy catkins and leaf buds, rich, dark burgundy leaves
  • 'Red Majestic'
    Cultivar with purple-red foliage, compact variety
  • 'Rote Zeller'
    Catkins are red-purple, red leaves turn bronze-red in late summer
'Contorta', 'Fuscorubra', 'Red Dragon', 'Red Majestic', 'Rote Zeller'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#edible plant#shrub#showy fruits#hedges#nuts#thickets#European#catkins#edible fruits#rounded#suckers#clay soils intolerant#vhfn#vhfn-n#suckering shrub#suckering#thicket#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Corylus
    Species:
    avellana
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Edible nuts
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe and Western Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds, squirrels, and field mice often eat the nuts. Bees are attracted to the pollen.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Hazelnuts (cobnuts) are edible, and this plant is used in the production of these nuts.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 12 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit, in the form of a nut, is enclosed by a short leafy involucre, or husk. They appear in clusters of 1 to 5 and are released from the husk in late summer when the nut has ripened. The rounded nuts are about 1" in diameter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Yellow-brown male catkins hang on all winter. They are yellowish in early winter as they release pollen. The female flowers are inconspicuous, with only its red styles visible.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Orbicular
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The rounded leaves have soft hair on both the top and bottom.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Its bark is smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    A multi-trunked shrub with twisting and winding shoots that form a thicket.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pool/Hardscape
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems