Content Detail

European hazelnut is often grown as a large shrub, but it can also be used as a small tree. This species produces edible hazelnuts or filberts.

  • Family (English) Birch
  • Family (botanic) Betulaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Irregular, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and Form:

This species can be a small tree or a large, suckering shrub. Mature height can range from 12 to 20 feet.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This plant is native to woodlands and hedgerows of Europe, western Asia, Greece, and Turkey.

Bark color and texture:

The brown bark is somewhat shiny and peels slightly.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate to heart-shaped with a doubly-toothed margin. They are green in summer with greenish-yellow fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers consist of yellow, male flowers in pendulous catkins and tiny pink females at the end of branches.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It produces edible hazelnuts (filberts) enclosed in a frilly husk that mature from September to October.

Plant care:

Maintenance may be high due to the need to remove excess suckers. It is tolerant of alkaline soils.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Crown gall, leaf spots and scale insects can occur. Japanese beetles can damage foliage. Eastern filbert blight can be a serious problem for this species.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’): 

This shrubby cultivar has curly, twisted stems that make an interesting winter feature.  It grows 8 to 10 feet tall and seldom produces fruit. This is a grafted plant, so always remove suckers which are part of the rootstock.

Red Majestic (Corylus avellana ‘Red Majestic’):

This is another cultivar with curled stems.  Foliage is reddish-purple instead of green.

Purple Haze hazelnut (Corylus ‘Purple Haze’):

This is an upright hybrid shrub reaching 8 to 10 feet high and 8 feet wide. New foliage emerges reddish-purple fading to bronzy green.


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