Foraging Wild Nuts: American Hazelnut

Photo of American Hazelnuts in hand

At the start of the year, I noticed a few American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) shrubs growing just a short walk from my home.  Every couple of weeks, I checked them for signs of awakening.  By the end of March, their dangling male catkins had expanded in size and begun to release pollen, and their small female flowers popped out of winter twig buds.  In June, the twigs were covered with rough leaves, and the fertilized female flowers had changed considerably.  By late August, the hairy twigs held clusters of green husks, many of which surrounded full-size, still-in-the-shell nuts (others held compromised nuts, or were just plain empty).  As I gathered some of these clusters, next year's male catkins were already visible. The cycle of flowering and fruiting had come full circle. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Note: Janet over at One Acre Farm has written an excellent piece on foraging hazelnuts!

3 thoughts on “Foraging Wild Nuts: American Hazelnut”

  1. Hey Josh, beautiful photos – especially the one of the female flower. I really love seeing those tiny blooms in spring. Are you able to gather a lot of hazelnuts in your area? I am always struck by how sweet they are when fresh. Truly my favorite wild edible.

    1. Thanks Janet! Your recent post on Hazelnuts has some great photos too! I’ve added a link to your post above. As to your question: I haven’t found a ton of hazelnuts near me, but enough for me to gather some.

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