Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; southern British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains, northern Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and eastern North America.
Habitat: Forest edge and openings, thickets, and rocky slopes at low to middle elevations.
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.