Corylus trees, commonly known as Hazel, produce nuts that are a firm favourite with wildlife. There are many ornamental features of Hazel trees that make them worthy of a place in any garden, ranging from unusual twisted branches to purple foliage and colourful catkins. Varieties that are grown for their edible nuts are sold VAT free and we also offer some other varieties of edible nut tree.
Corylus are monoecious, with catkins of either gender found on the same tree. The male catkins are much bigger than female catkins and usually the ones seen decorating the branches in late winter to early spring. Catkins vary in colour from yellow to red.
Depending on the species, the nuts produced by these trees can be known as hazelnuts, cobnuts or filbert nuts. The nuts of Corylus avellana 'Cosford' are particularly good for eating, whilst the nuts of Corylus colurna are encased in a decorative fringed husk. Corylus avellana 'Contorta' and Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' are favoured for their enchanting twisted branches.
It is disputed whether the Corylus genus sits within the Birch family or their own separate family called Corylaceae.
Pits for processing hazlenuts have been dated back as far as 8,000 years. Aside from the edible nuts, the branches of Hazel have historically been used to make fences, baskets and small boats. In Celtic folklore, eating hazelnuts gave wisdom and inspiration.