Common Hazel (Corylus avellana)

West wall of Carver gym, near north end Map

A line of hazel "trees" lines the wall along the northwest corner of Carver gym. This is another woody plant striving to meet the official definition of "tree." Hazels commonly top out at about 20-25 ft. They are multi-stemmed, exceedingly bush-like, and in most respects rather unremarkable - as are our examples shown here. However, Corylus avellana has one attribute that lends it considerable distinction; it produces a prized, edible nut, the hazelnut, or filbert. (Apparently hazelnuts produced in orchards are called filberts, for some no-doubt valid commercial reason).

This species of hazel is native to much of Europe, western Asia, and even parts of North Africa. One source also suggests that it is native to North America, whereas several others describe species of North American hazels that are, however, mere shrubs by anyone's definition. A Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna) also exists and is in cultivation, but it is far more tree-like than our little straggling specimens. As you can detect, the true species name for these plants is in some doubt, but we will stick with avellana. Let the botanists sort it out.

Hazel is used in Europe for fencing. It is either planted in dense linear rows, or copiced (see the littleleaf linden) to produce slender shoots that can be woven. Moreover, in the land of Harry Potter, copiced hazel shoots are useful for magic wands.