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.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Early spring,
- Late summer,
- Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
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
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.