AMERICAN HAZELNUT
File Size: 66 KB
 
Corylus americana  Walt.
Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
Height: Shrubs to 10 feet
Family: Betulaceae - Birch Family
Flowering Period:   March
Also Called: American hazel.
Trunks: Stems ascending to erect; branches unarmed; bark brown to grayish brown, smooth or fissures shallow; wood white, more or less hard.
Twigs: Reddish brown to tan, flexible, pubescent, stipitate-glandular; leaf scars half-round; pith greenish white; buds reddish brown, ovoid, .08 to .12 inch, apex obtuse, scales ciliate.
Leaves: Deciduous, alternate, simple; petiole .2 to .5 inch; blade ovate, 2 to 6.4 inches long, 1.6 to 4.8 inches wide, base truncate to rounded or cordate, margins 1-2-serrate, apex acute to acuminate, lower surfaces green, sparsely pubescent, upper surfaces green to dark green, sparsely pubescent.
Flowers: Inflorescences are catkins formed in previous season and exposed in winter; staminate catkins: axillary, 1-2, pendent, 1.2 to 3.2 inches long, .02 to .03 inch wide, many-flowered; pistillate catkins: proximal to staminate, 1, erect, .2 to .6 inch long, .16 to .4 inch wide, 6-12-flowered, not becoming cone-like or woody in fruit; peduncle to .6 inch in fruit. Unisexual, more or less radially symmetric; staminate: bearing bracts, each bract with 3 flowers; perianth absent; stamens 4; pistillate: bearing bracts, each bract with 2 flowers; perianth adnate to ovary; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-locular proximally; styles 2; stigmas 2.
Fruit: September-October; nuts brown, nearly globose, .5 to .7 inch diam., minutely velvety, surrounded by and basally adnate to 2 bracts, bracts persist and enlarge with age, irregularly dentate distally; seed 1.
Habitat: Edges of upland forests and woodlands, thickets.
Distribution: East 1/3 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: The kernels of American hazelnut are sweet and nutritious, high in protein, dietary fiber, vitamin E, and certain minerals, and can be eaten raw or roasted. They were a food source of the Dakota, Omaha, Ponca, and Winnebago tribes (Kindscher 1987). Squirrels, chipmunks, and birds also consume the kernels (Stephens 1973).
Comments: American hazelnut is monoecious.

American hazelnut catkins
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
American hazelnut catkin and bud
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
American hazelnut flowering
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
American hazelnut leaf
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
American hazelnut leaf
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
American hazelnut fruit
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
American hazelnut bark
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Eastern Kansas (Photo by Craig Freeman)