Range of Corylus cornuta var. californica
from "
Atlas of United States Trees"
- Elbert L. Little, Jr.

Western Hazelnut

Corylus cornuta var. californica

Native Plant Species

California Native
Plant Guide

Range of Corylus cornuta
from "
Atlas of United States Trees"
- Elbert L. Little, Jr.

Foliage and branching

Cronquist System







APG System









Corylus cornuta var. californica is a small deciduous tree with a rounded crown. It grows between 5 and 12 ft in height.. It is normally found growing in the shade of other trees, although it can be grown in full sun, especially as you approach the coast.
The hazelnuts are edible and flavorful. Trees in the sun can produce abundant fruit.




Simple leaves with toothed margins. They have a felty layer of smaller hairs


Hazelnut flowers grow in catkins in late winter.


The seeds are hazelnuts, which resemble small acorns. Instead of an acorn cap, they are covered with a leafy husk. The hairs on the husks are short but bristly, and may be irritating. The hazelnut itself is smooth, with no hairs. Hazelnuts ripen starting in mid to late August.

Plant Relationships

Related California Species:


Related Exotic Species:

Corylus americana
Corylus avellana

American hazelnut (E US)
Filbert (europe)

Growing Conditions

Natural Range and Habitat:

Corylus cornuta var. californica grows in coastal and mountainous terrain, from northern California to British Columbia.
Corylus cornuta var cornuta is found in southern Canada and along the east coast, especially in New England and the Appalachian Mountains.

Sun and Exposure:

Corylus cornuta is shade tolerant. It is normally found growing in the understory of large, established trees.

Soil and Moisture Requirements:

Hazelnut grows in forests with well developed forest soils. They do not require a high water table, as they are usually found on hillsides, but they do require a reliable moisture supply in summer.

Horticulture and Restoration

Wildlife Habitat:


Corylus cornuta is only infrequently used in restoration, because restoration sites are usually in full sun, while Corylus benefits from growing in the shade.

Uses in Landscaping:

Hazelnut grows well in the full sun, although it is also very tolerant of shade. Plants in full sun should either be in locations that are not too hot and dry, or they will need some supplemental irrigation.
They can be easily trained into small trees. Corylus generate many small branches, so that it is necessary to prune them to reduce their number.

Horticultural Comments:

Sunset zones 1-9, 14-20
USDA zones 7-10
They are easy to grow from seed. The seed must be used the year it is collected, before the seed dries out. Either stratify the seed, or let them germinate in the winter weather.

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