Hazelnuts, Corylus avellana


The Hazel Nut, also called a Filbert or Cobnut, is one of a small number of edible nuts that can be harvested in the UK. Hazel Nuts are the fruit of the Hazel, a large shrub or small deciduous tree that is native to Europe. Hazels have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins and flower in early spring before the leaves develop. Hazels produce single-sex catkins that are male or female, depending on the sex of the tree. Fresh young Hazel Nuts are green, and encased in a husk. To become edible, the nuts have to grow to full maturity, ripen, and and dry out. This is usually done at home in a warm, dry, dark place, like an airing cupboard, as most Hazel Nuts are snaffled by wildlife before they get a chance to ripen naturally.

Hazel Checklist


🌳 Deciduous Woodland.
🚜 Hedgerows, including field edges.
🏡 Urban Green Spaces, including scrubland, parks and gardens.
🌊 Waterways, including rivers, lakes and streams.


🌞🍂 August - October


☘️ Green, Oval, toothed and hairy.


🌷 The yellow male catkins appear before the leaves and hang in clusters from mid-February. Female flowers are tiny and bud-like with red styles.


🪓 The tree has shiny bark with horizontal lines of 'breathing pores' known as lenticels.

Fruit / Seeds

🍏 After flowering oval fruits develop which hang in groups of one to four. They mature into a nut with a woody shell surrounded by a cup of leafy bracts.

Edible Parts

🌷 Catkins
🍏 Nuts

Aroma / Taste

👅 Nuts taste like Hazelnuts!
😋 We consider Hazelnuts to be a Choice Edible.

ID Notes

🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 Hazel is relatively easy to identify, especially when in flower, or in fruit (nuts). The long yellow catkins and and later, the hanging clusters of green nuts are the key identifiers.


🥗 Salad - The catkins and nuts can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🌺 Garnish - Raw hazel nuts and catkins can be used as a garnish.
🍓 Yummy - The raw nuts are a tasty forage snack