Noticed an American hazelnut (Corylus Americana) blooming today at Prairie Winds Farm.This is a bit early as they usually don’t bloom till March or April. But, with the wacky weather we’re having right now it’s not surprising. Another name for this shrub is American Filbert as it is closely related to the European Filbert nuts you can buy at the store and are just as edible – they’re just smaller. Wildlife like squirrels, woodpeckers, deer, quail, turkey and pheasants love them too. The nuts are generally ready between July and October but you have to be quick if you expect to collect wild nuts as they don’t last long.
It is monoecious, meaning that it has separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers are large while the female flowers are small and inconspicuous. One of the pictures shows the male flowers in my hand (note the pollen on my fingers) while the red female flower can barely be seen at the tip of the branch. By the way, this type of flower is called a “catkin.”
This shrub is native in our area and does well as a yard planting. It is a small to medium sized shrub (6-15 feet) that generally has multiple stems. Rarely will it take the form of a tree with a single trunk.