Corylus cornuta ssp. californica

beaked hazlenut, California hazelnut, western hazelnut

Beaked hazlenut grows sporadiclly throughout the coastal and interior Northwest. This 1-4 m tall shrub has doubly saw-toothed elliptic to oval leaves and flowers in catkins. The nuts grow in tubular, tough husks in clusters of two or three.

Cultural Narrative: 

Beaked hazelnut was a prized food among people throughout the Northwest. Since it grows sporadically in moist but well-drained sites, people had to travel or trade to obtain them. People also likely transported these plants to encourage growth in new locations. The prickly, beak-like husked seeds are often stored underground for several weeks to allow the husk to rot. Seeds may be eaten raw or roasted.

Location Description: 

Hazelnut shrubs grow in moist but well-drained locations including open forest, thickets, slopes, and streamside habitats.