Hazel tree (Corylus avellana)

The Hazel tree (Corylus avellana) was known as the ’Tree of Knowledge’ by the Celts and associated with wisdom and inspiration. Presenting brides hazelnuts blesses them with good fortune too.

  • Hazel Tree  -  Corylus Avellana  -  Leaves
  • Hazel Tree  -  Corylus Avellana  -  Mature Tree
  • Hazel Tree  -  Corylus Avellana  -  Winter Stems And Buds

Useful info about Hazel trees

Latin NameCorylus avellana
TypeDeciduous (loses its leaves in winter)
HeightCan grow up to 5 - 10 metres (20 - 40 feet)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 5 metres (20 feet)
Soil Types PreferredChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Locations SuitableFarmland, Gardens, Hedgerows, Patios
FlowersYellow catkins in January / February
FruitNuts in late Summer
Celtic Tree MonthAugust 5 - September 1

Similar Species


Hazel trees typically reach 3-8 m tall, but can reach 15 metres.

The leaves are bright green, rounded, 6-12 cm across and softly hairy on both surfaces.

The flowers are produced very early in spring, before the leaves, and are monoecious (meaning both male and female flowers are on the same tree). It has single-sex wind-pollinated catkins.

Male catkins are pale yellow and 5-12 cm long, while female catkins are very small and largely concealed in the buds with only the bright red 1-3 mm long tips visible.

The fruit is a nut, produced in clusters of one to five together, each nut being held in a short leafy husk which encloses about three quarters of the nut. The nuts falls out of the husks when ripe, typically in late summer.

Hazel is a good tree for under planting in a woodland / densely planted area as it can tolerate shade.

The scientific name avellana derives from the town of Avella in Italy where the species was described as "Avellana nux sylvestris" ("wild nut of Avella").

Hazel Trees can grow to around 20ft (6m) and will make a strong, dense hedge if cut and laid.


The Common Hazel is an important component of the hedgerows that were the traditional field boundaries in lowland England. The wood was traditionally grown as coppice, the poles cut being used for wattle-and-daub building and agricultural fencing.

Hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. Moreover, they contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins. Additionally, for those persons who need to restrict carbohydrates, 1 cup (237 ml) of hazelnut flour has 20 g of carbohydrates, 12 g fibre, for less than 10 net carbohydrates.

Common Hazel is cultivated for its nuts in commercial orchards in Europe, Turkey, Iran and Caucasus. The name "hazelnut" applies to the nuts of any of the species of the genus Corylus. This hazelnut or cobnut, the kernel of the seed, is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin which has a bitter flavour and is sometimes removed before cooking. The top producer of hazelnuts, by a large margin, is Turkey, specifically the Ordu Province. Turkish hazelnut production of 625,000 tonnes accounts for approximately 75% of worldwide production.

In the United States, hazelnut production is concentrated in two states, Oregon and Washington; however, they are also grown extensively just to the north, in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. In 1996 the in-shell production in Oregon was about 19,900 tons (18,000 tonnes) compared to 100 tons (91 tonnes) in Washington (. Recent orchard plantings in California are likely to increase production in the USA. The hazelnut is also growing in popularity in the USA with a Hazelnut Council set up to promote its use. The harvesting of hazelnuts is either by hand in rural communities, or by manual or mechanical raking of fallen nuts.

Hazelnuts are extensively used in confectionery to make praline and also used in combination with chocolate for chocolate truffles and products such as Nutella. In the USA, hazelnut butter is being promoted as a more nutritious spread than its peanut butter counterpart, though it has a higher fat content. In Austria and especially in Vienna hazelnut paste is an important ingredient in the world famous torts (such as Viennese hazelnut tort) which are made there. Vodka-based Hazelnut liqueurs, such as Frangelico, are also increasing in popularity, especially in the U.S. and eastern Europe.

Hazelnut is popular as a coffee flavouring, especially in the form of Hazelnut latte. Hazelnut-flavoured coffee seems (to many users) to be slightly sweetened and less acidic, even though the nut is low in natural saccharides. The reason for such perception is not yet understood.

In Australia over 2000 tonnes are imported annually mostly to supply the demand from the Cadbury company for inclusion in its eponymous milk chocolate bar which is the third most popular brand in Australia. Hazelnut oil, pressed from hazelnuts, is strongly flavoured and used as a cooking oil. Hazelnuts are also grown extensively in Australia in orchards growing varieties mostly imported from Europe.

Primitive archers have also used the wood of the hazelnut in the making of arrows. The fine grain and tendency to grow with fairly straight shoots makes them suitable shaft material.


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

Hazel trees are believed to represent creativity, enlightenment and wisdom.

Hazelnut trees were known as the ’Tree of Knowledge’ by the Celts and associated with wisdom and inspiration.

Hazelnuts were often presented to those facing a particularly tough challenge.

During weddings it was a tradition for children to present the bride with a bag of Hazelnuts in order to bless her with good fortune.

It was also thought that new skills and knowledge could be gained by eating Hazelnuts.

It’s also a tradition for children to shake a Hazel tree during Halloween and collect the falling nuts.

Hazel trees are reputed to have magical properties. Hazel rods are supposed to protect against evil spirits too.

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