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TREES & plants

American hazelnut

American hazelnut is a thicket-forming native shrub, excellent for naturalizing, woodland gardens and shade areas.  Showy male flowers (catkins) add early spring interest,  dark green leaves turn a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. The nuts mature from September to October, attracting seed-eating birds, such as blue jays and woodpeckers.



Botanical name: 
Corylus americana
All Common Names: 
American hazelnut, American Filbert, American hazel
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early spring
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Round
  • Spreading
  • Thicket-forming
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
  • Fast
More Information: 

Size and Form

 A thicket forming, multi-stemmed shrub with a rounded habit, 6 to 10 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Adaptable to wide variety of habitats, best in full sun, tolerant of part shade.
Tolerant of a wide  range of soil pH in well-drained, loamy soil
Prune unwanted suckers to maintain size and shape.

Disease, pests and problems

Japanese beetles, scale insects, filbert blight

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 5
Found as understory plant and wood edges in eastern North America and Canada.

Attracts birds & butterflies

Attracts seed eaters, such as blue jays and woodpeckers.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves; ovate to heart-shaped with a toothed margin.
Green in summer with some mild yellow fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Showy, yellow male flowers in pendulous catkins; tiny pink females at the end of branches.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Edible hazelnuts (filberts)  enclosed in a frilly husk; mature from September to October.