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The Many Varieties of Hazelnuts

There are different types of hazelnuts across the world, including in Europe, Asia, and North America. The three varieties the Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium works with include a European variety and the two native North American species: beaked and American.

By crossbreeding cold-sensitive, commercial-quality (larger nut size) European hazelnuts (Corylus avellana) with American (C. Americana) or beaked (C. comuta) hazelnuts, we can greatly expand the range of commercial hazelnuts, as hybrids are disease-resistant and well-adapted to the American climate with much better nuts.

Beaked Hazelnuts

Native area of Beaked Hazelnut

Key Identifying Factors of Beaked Hazelnuts:

  • Mature involucres 4 to 7 cm
  • Twigs glandless
  • Prickly hairs on involucres

Besides having small, thick-shelled nuts, native hazelnuts express a wide range of adaptability and a high resistance to EFB.

American Hazelnuts

Native area of American Hazelnut

Key Identifying Factors of American Hazelnuts:

  • Mature involucres 1.5 to 3 cm
  • Young twigs mostly glandular

Besides having small, thick-shelled nuts, native hazelnuts express a wide range of adaptability and a high resistance to EFB.

European Hazelnuts

Key Identify Factor of European Hazelnuts:

  • Exposed Nuts in involucres

Corylus avellana is often referred to as the European or common hazelnut. Corylus avellana is a native species of Europe and western Asia. European hazelnuts are often naturally a shrub but can be trained to grow as trees. The nuts of European hazels are commonly free-falling and larger in size than American or beaked nuts.