American Hazelnut, Corylus americana
Betulaceae or Birch Family

Plant in flower Shrub or small tree.  Flowers in early spring, before the leaves appear.   Two kinds of flowers: male flowers (above) are long, thin yellowish brown catkins, and female flowers (right, above right, and below left) are very small brown cones with red pistils at the tip.  Fruit a brown nut, encased in a woody husk that peels back and has a ragged edge.  Fruits often persist all winter on the plant and can be found in spring along with the flowers.

Occasional understory shrub in the woods.  Best seen along Wildwood Drive.  There is a fine specimen across from the Outdoor Classroom.

The combination of tiny red female flowers and male catkins is distinctive in the spring, the leaves are easily recognized in the summer, and the distinctive fruits are good identifiers year round.

Male flowers

 Female flower

Female flower



Flora & Fauna Home

Wildwood Home