Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees


Filbert - Hazel - Cob Nuts - Corylus


Filbert is the general name for the deciduous group of trees called Corylus. As a species they are native to many parts of the world from America to China and Japan, Siberia and Turkey. Most are fairly smallish trees, but some like the Turkish and Chinese varieties are larger with the Chinese growing up to 120 feet.

Hazel “Corylus Avellana,” the familiar European variety, will only grow up to 12 metres. Deep rooted and suckering freely, this tree does not grow naturally as a normal tree shape, but is inclined to grow as a bush. Hence, the best place for it is in a hedge where it is usually to be found growing along the field boundaries down the country lanes of Great Britain.

The flowers, (or catkins as they actually are) develop in the winter before the leaves appear and pollination will occur throughout January to April. Hazels really need pollen from other hazels for the best results. Although a native of England the catkins can be destroyed/damaged by frosting as they are so early in the year and small thin shoots on the trees are easily damaged by dry cold winds in Winter. Of course after pollination has occurred successfully the familiar small, brown, round, Hazel nuts develop.

The Corylus family is quite a large group of trees that have taken many forms including some ornamental ones such as the “Twisted Hazel” that has corkscrew like stems much favoured by flower arrangers. Another favourite nut bearing hybrid is the Kentish Cob that produces larger, thicker, more oblong, nuts.

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