An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Beaked Hazel

2-15-16 beaked hazelnut  268Because of the popularity of hazel nuts, it is surprising to find viable fruits on Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) in mid- to late winter. Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Beavers, Snowshoe Hares, Raccoons, Red Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks and White-footed Mice all vie for these delectable nuts.

This multi-stemmed, wind-pollinated shrub bears fruit that is wrapped in a modified leaf (involucre). Beaked Hazel (as opposed to American Hazel, Corylus americana) is named after the tapering beak-shape of its nuts’ involucres. One might suspect that any fruits remaining on hazel shrubs at this time of year must not be edible, but the photographed specimen was very tasty!

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8 responses

  1. Susan Sawyer

    Hi Mary — I saw one of these the other day, too. The fact that it was still hanging there makes me suspicious — I bet there’s something wrong with that nut, like a weevil or other insect damage. I wonder if I can find that one again, so I can take it apart and see. What do you think?

    February 17, 2016 at 7:49 am

    • Hi Susan,
      I figured it would be riddled with weevil, etc. work, but I sliced it in half and there was no insect damage, so I popped it in my mouth and enjoyed it tremendously…

      February 17, 2016 at 8:08 am

      • Susan Sawyer

        Oh good for you! I’ve never liked them — but my stepfather & his family always ate them when they could get them before the critters. Taught me to toast them in the oven a bit to open the husks, and to wear gloves.

        February 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

  2. Dennis Smith

    In Lovell, Maine, it appears that the black bears get ours in the late summer.

    February 17, 2016 at 11:38 am

  3. Tom Zuba

    Mary,
    I have always enjoyed reading your work. I have a question on the Hazel Nut. How do you prepare them for consumption? Thanks’ for your time in this ahead of time.
    Tom.

    February 17, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    • Hi Tom,
      I honestly don’t know how one prepares them – probably drying them before eating? I just ate it right off the tree!

      February 17, 2016 at 5:20 pm

  4. The one that (almost) got away! 😉

    February 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm

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