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Genus: Corylus (hazelnuts)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Fagales > Family: Betulaceae


Hazelnut. [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ]


There are about 15 species in the genus, with an indigenous distribution covering temperate regions of Europe, Asia and North America. The hazelnuts we eat are derived mainly from two species of tree: the European hazel Corylus avellana and the Filbert Corylus maxima. There are also hybrids between the two and hybrids with other Corylus species. Hazelnuts are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and thiamin, and a good source of niacin. Hazelnuts are eaten raw or roasted and are also used extensively in chocolate making, baking and cooking.


  • Hazelnuts can be eaten raw or roasted. The outer skin of the nut is bitter-tasting and can be removed by first roasting the nuts at 150C in an oven for about 10-15 minutes and then wrapping the nuts in a tea towel and rubbing them for about five minutes.
  • Hazelnuts are often used in chocolates.
  • Chopped hazelnuts add texture and taste to cakes, cookies, breads, salads, soups and sauces.
  • Finely ground nuts can be used as a substitute for flour.
  • Hazelnut paste consists of finely ground nuts mixed with sugar.
  • Hazelnut oil is derived from pressed hazelnuts and is used in salad dressings, sauces, pastries and coffee.
  • Hazel trees are coppiced for producing firewood and poles. Coppicing is where the tree is cut down and branches grown from the cut stump - these branches are harvested on a regular basis.


  • AliNiazee, M.T. 1998. Ecology and management of hazelnut pests. Annual Review of Entomology 43: 395-419.

  • Anon. 2002. Encyclopedia of Foods. A Guide to Healthy Nutrition. Academic Press, San Diego, California. 

  • Zohary, D. & Hopf, M. 1993. Domestication of plants in the old World - The origin and spread of cultivated plants in West Asia, Europe, and the Nile Valley. Clarendon Press, Oxford.



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