Page authors: David Giblin, Don Knoke
Corylus cornuta
beaked hazelnut
Twig with two pendulous (dangling) male catkins, and with female flowers enclosed in bracts at the tip. The yellow pollen-bearing anthers are sprirally arranged along the catkin and covered by bracts. Female flowers are found at the tip of the twig enclosed within a series of bracts. Only the red stigmas of the female flower protrude from the bracts.

Distribution: Widespread in North America from British Columbia to Newfoundland, south to California, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, and Georgia. In WA on both sides of the Cascades, and in the eastern portion of the state.

Habitat: Forest edge and openings, thickets, and rocky slopes at low to middle elevations.

Flowers: January - March

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Multi-stemmed shrub 1-4 meters tall with alternate leaves. First-year twigs typically hairy to glandular, becoming glabrous (smooth) in second year.


5-10 mm. long petioles with 4-10 mm. long blades; base of blade flat or somewhat heart-shaped; leaf margins doubly serrate; tip of blades coming to a point gradually or abruptly.


All plants have separate male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers. Male flowers are arranged sprirally along a pendulous (dangling) catkin; female flowers enclosed in bracts at the tip of the twigs with only the red stigmas visible.


1.5 cm. long, hard-shelled nut enclosed within a prickly-haired tube formed by the involucre (cluster of bracts) originating at the nut base.


The nuts are often harvested shortly after ripening by squirrels and other cache-forming animals.

Accepted Name:
Corylus cornuta Marshall
Publication: Arbust. Amer. 37. 1785.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
ssp. californica – California hazel    British Columbia to California, west of and in the Cascades
ssp. cornuta – beaked hazel
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Corylus cornuta in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Corylus cornuta checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Corylus cornuta atlas page.

CalPhotos: Corylus cornuta photos.

USDA Plants: Corylus cornuta information.

43 photographs:
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