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Beaked Hazelnut

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The shrub Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) is named for its fruit – a nut with a tubular husk that resembles a beak. The surface of the husk is covered with fine filaments that can irritate the skin. Rich in protein and fat, the hard-shelled nuts are a preferred food of Ruffed Grouse, Hairy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, White-tailed Deer and squirrels. Beaked Hazelnut, a member of the Birch family, is quite versatile. Native Americans found many uses for its nuts – they ate them roasted and raw, pounded them for use in cakes, and used their oil as a cure for coughs, and colds, as well as an astringent. The wood of Beaked Hazelnut was carved into arrows, hooks and spoons, while the long, flexible shoots were twisted into rope. A European species of hazelnut is used for commercial production of hazelnuts (also called filberts) in the U.S.. The nut in this photograph has not matured and developed its hard shell, but I wanted to beat the squirrels to it!

4 responses

  1. Al Stoops

    In northern Minnesota, where Dr. Lynn Rogers does his black bear studies, beaked hazelnut is the only widespread hard mast available for bears. (There is some scattered red oak.)

    July 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

    • How could I not mention black bears? Thank you so much for commenting!

      July 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    Sounds like it is also a preferred food of squirrels!

    July 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    • Absolutely — but for some reason I didn’t mention them, either, in the text! Thanks, Kathie.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm

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