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A summer hazel tree in a woodland park.

Hazel tree - licensed under Creative Commons Wikicommons/Nikanos

This native, broadleaved tree has been used for centuries and carries the botanical name Corylus avellana. Hazel is the ideal coppice tree, meaning every few years it can be cut back to a 'stool' at ground level that produces a cluster of straight flexible stems that can be harvested. This process considerably extends the life of the tree.

Botanical drawings of hazel

Facts and stats

  • Lifespan: 70 years
  • Height: The hazel is rarely left to develop as a tree, but it can reach seven metres if left uncut. Usually a Hazel more closely resembles a shrub.
  • Flower: In late winter, male flowers form ‘lambs-tails’ catkins.
  • Fruit: In October ripe nuts are enclosed in leafy bracts.
  • Bark: Smooth, shiny brown with conspicuous yellow lenticels and scaly patches.
  • Insect species it supports: 106
  • Native to: Europe (but not the Shetlands) and Asia Minor.
  • Uses: In the past, when a countryman wanted a piece of wood, this was usually provided by his hazel copse. One seventh of the wood was cut each year to provide poles for firewood, ‘wattle and daub’ building, thatching spars, fences and garden plant supports. A small hazel coppice industry thrives today.


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