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European hazelnut

Leaves of European hazelnut.

European hazelnut is often grown as a large shrub, but it can also be used as a small tree.  This species produces edible hazelnuts or filberts.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Corylus avellana

All Common Names:

European hazelnut, European filbert, European hazel, filbert, giant filbert, hazelnut, cobnut

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub,
  • Tree

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Utility,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet),
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
  • Large shrub (more than 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,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Alkaline soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Irregular,
  • Thicket-forming,
  • Upright

More Information:

Size and Form

This species can be a small tree or a large, suckering shrub.  Mature height can range from 12 to 20 feet.

Tree & Plant Care

Maintenance may be high due to the need to remove excess suckers,
Tolerant of alkaline soils.

Disease, pests, and problems

Crown gall, leaf spots and scale insects can occur.
Japanese beetles can be a problem.
Eastern filbert blight can be a serious problem on this species.

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in woodlands and hedgerows Europe.
W. Asia, Greece, Turkey

Bark color and texture 

The brown bark is somewhat shiny and peels slightly.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

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

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

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.

Cultivars and their differences 

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta'):   This shrubby cultivar has curly, twisted stems that make an interesting winter feature.  It grows 8 to 10 feet tall and seldom produces fruit. This is a grafted plant, always remove suckers which are part of the rootstock.

Red Majestic (Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic'):  Another cultivar with curled stems.  Foliage is reddish-purple instead of green.

Purple Haze hazelnut (Corylus 'Purple Haze'): An upright hybrid shrub reaching 8 to 10 feet high and 8 feet wide. New foliage emerges reddish-purple fading to bronzy green.



Location of Corylus avellana (European hazelnut) at the Arboretum