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American hazelnut

Leaves of 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.

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.

Botanical name:

Corylus americana

All common names:

American hazelnut, American Filbert, American hazel

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

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 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • late summer,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round,
  • 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.



Location of Corylus americana (American hazelnut) at the Arboretum