A beautifully shaped shrub with a fascinating and pretty nut husk.
A dense, mound-shaped, deciduous, thicket-forming shrub. Corylus is monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same plant). Male flowers are yellowish brown, showy catkins. Female flowers are small, reddish, inconspicuous catkins and are followed by small, egg-shaped brown nuts. The nuts are typically produced on plants that are 2-3 years old and older, and are enclosed in hairy, leaf-like husks with frilly/ragged edges. Nuts are edible at maturity in the fall, but you have to act fast to beat out the squirrels! Dark green, alternate leaves have a double-toothed margin and hairy stems. Fall color varies from bright yellow to deep wine-red.
Although Corylus are monoecious, they are not reliably self-fertile. They produce no nectar, and are wind-pollinated. (Bees may visit to enjoy the pollen produced.) A single shrub may produce some nuts, but planting should be done in multiples to ensure that cross-pollination takes place.
Attracts birds. Nuts eaten by birds and squirrels. Larval host.
This medium to fast-growing shrub can increase in height from 13-24″ annually. It has one central stem and will send up many auxiliary stems from the root system. Root suckers may be removed to prevent thicket formation, or better yet, plant C. americana in a space where it can thrive and spread.
Height: 10-16 ft.
Spread: 8-13 ft.
Bloom time: March to April
Sun: full sun to part shade
According to Rutgers University, Corylus are “seldom severely damaged” by deer.
photo credit: Superior National Forest