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Beaked Hazelnut is a native nut tree species that adds diversity to a woodland garden and produces a delicious crop of highly nutritious nuts! Beaked Hazelnut is also known as beaked hazel, beaked filbert, American cuckold nut, western hazelnut or western hazel.
Hazel is a harbinger of Spring - its small round buds erupting in May in a tiny flurry of magenta at the end of slender stems! Beaked Hazelnut can be identified by its bright green leaves, which are rounded oval, saw-tooth and fuzzy. Leaves turn a brilliant yellow in Fall and slender catkins are lovely in the late Winter garden.
The round, edible Beaked Hazelnuts are enclosed in a green, bristly beaked husk, often in groups of 2-3 ripening in September. Rich in protein and fat, creamy and delicious, hazelnuts are beloved by foragers, human and wild alike! If you want to harvest the tasty nuts, you may have to compete with chipmunks, squirrels, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasant, woodpeckers and blue jays!
Beaked Hazelnut was an important food source for First Nations - either eaten fresh or buried for longer storage. They also used the twigs and stems as ties, for weaving baskets and fish traps, and making arrows.
The shrub grows up to 10 feet under the right conditions. It grows well as an understory shrub in the dappled shade of tall trees. For a productive nut harvest, plant at least two Beaked Hazelnut together in full sun. Beaked Hazelnut prefers rich, well drained-soil but will tolerate moisture and poor soil.