South Dakota Native Plant Research
Betulaceae : Corylus cornuta

Betulaceae : Corylus cornuta


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Family Name


Common Name

Beaked hazel


Corylus cornuta is a perennial, monoecious shrub that grows, from rhizomes to a height of roughly 2.5- 5 m with a crown spread of 3- 4.5 m. Plants are usually multi-stemmed with long branches that produce a dense spreading shape and forming thickets by sending up suckers from the underground rhizomes. The young twigs are usually smooth, sometimes sparsely hairy, but lacking glands. The petiolate leaves are simple, alternate, the blades ovate, pointed at the tip and rounded or heart shaped at the base, 4-10 cm long, doubly toothed and hairy underneath. Male flowers present in the winter and bloom very early in the spring in long (4-8 cm) cylindrical, sessile, whitish catkins having numerous crowded flowers, each having a pair of bracts and 4 stamens. The female flowers emerge before the leaves in ovoid brownish catkins of few flowers, with the red styles becoming visible. The fruit are nuts that are solitary or clustered, each enveloped in bristly bracts, partially connate and forming a long beak. Beaked hazelnut grows in upland forests and thickets in western and northeastern South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Beaked hazelnut is an easy-to-grow native shrub that produces edible nuts in late summer. They make attractive hedges and windbreaks, green in the summer and yellow bronze in the fall. The nuts are a favorite of squirls.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in mid-late summer when the edges of the husks begin to turn brown.

Germination: Fall sowing will produce seedlings in the late spring. Scarifying (scoring the seeds with a file) will improve germination.

Vegetative Propagation: Transplant root suckers.

Soils: Well-drained sandy to clay soils with a rich organic composition.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Dry to moist

Betulaceae : Corylus cornuta