Corylus cornuta

Common Name: beaked hazel 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Betulaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Pale yellow (male)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Best grown in acidic, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates average garden soils, but not unamended heavy clays. Prompt removal of root suckers will help maintain plant appearance, and, if desired, help prevent thicket formation. Plant may not be reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where it should be sited in a sheltered location. Flower buds are susceptible to damage from early spring frosts.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Corylus cornuta, commonly called beaked hazel or beaked filbert, is native from British Columbia to Quebec south to Illinois and Georgia (with a variety occurring from British Columbia to California). It is a small, suckering, deciduous shrub that grows 4-8’ tall and as wide. It is typically found in rich thickets, woodland borders, along streams and in clearings. Female fruit is a hard edible nut (to 1/2” long) enclosed in a leafy, hairy, light green husk. As the common name suggests, the easiest way to identify this shrub is from the fruit: the husk (involucral tube) surrounding the nut extends beyond the nut by at least one inch to form a beak. Nuts ripen in late August and September. Doubly-toothed, elliptic to ovate, bright green leaves (to 4” long) are rounded (sometimes cordate) at the base and generally hairy. Leaves turn variable but usually unexceptional shades of yellow in fall. Non-showy, monoecious flowers appear in catkins in spring (April). The drooping, sessile male catkins are pale yellow-gray and the tiny female catkins with protruding red stigmas are largely concealed. The nuts from this plant may be roasted and eaten, but are usually left for the squirrels. The filbert nuts produced in commerce come from hybrid plants (C. avellana x C. maxima).

Genus name comes from the Greek word korylos, or from korys meaning a helmet, in regard to the husk on the nut.

Specific epithet means horned or horn-shaped.


No serious insect or disease problems. Reportedly has good resistance to filbert blight. Infrequent disease problems include black knot, crown gall and leaf spots. Scale may occur.


Naturalized areas. Mass plantings. Shrub borders or woodland gardens.