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Corylus colurna L.

Turkish Hazel

Modern name

Corylus colurna L.

A tree up to 70 or 80 ft high, with a trunk sometimes 7 ft or more in girth, covered with pale scaling bark; young shoots yellowish at first, glandular downy.

Leaves 212 to 6 in. long, 2 to 412 in. wide; broadly oval, obovate or ovate, pointed (sometimes abruptly) at the apex, heart-shaped at the base, coarsely double-toothed or almost lobed; upper side dark green, lower one downy along the midrib and veins; stalk 12 to 1 in. long, glandular-downy at first, afterwards glabrous. Male catkins 2 to 3 in. long. Nuts 12 to 58 in. diameter, the husk (involucre) in which it is set 112 in. across, fringed with numerous narrow pointed lobes 12 to 1 in. long, covered with a fine down freely mixed with which are gland-tipped bristles. The nuts are closely clustered three or more together. Bot. Mag., t. 9469.

Native of S.E. Europe and Asia Minor; introduced to England about the middle of the sixteenth century. There are some fine specimens in old English gardens, notably at Syon House, near Brentford, where there is an old specimen measuring 60 × 914 ft (1967). Others recorded recently are: Bicton, Devon, 55 × 1114 ft at 112 ft (1959); Oxford Parks, 58 × 814 ft (1965); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 48 × 312 ft and 45 × 3 ft (1964-5); Cambridge Botanic Garden, 45 ft with a spread of 66 ft (1967); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, 61 × 534 ft (1968).

The tree is well worth growing for its stately form, so remarkable for a hazel, and for its curiously enveloped nuts. It thrives very well in the hot summers and cold winters of Central Europe, and there usually has a short trunk with the bottom branches touching the ground, the whole tree forming a lofty pyramid. There are trees of this character at Schönbrunn, near Vienna. The height of these, 70 to 80 ft when this work was first published in 1914, is now over 100 ft. The tree in the Berggarten near Hanover, also mentioned in previous editions, died recently; the skeleton, which has been left in situ, shows a well-developed central stem with main branches springing from the base and almost equal to it in thickness.

C. jacquemontii Decne. C. lacera Wall. – This is the Himalayan representative of C. colurna. It differs from that species chiefly in the husk of the nut having few or no glandular bristles mixed with the down, and in the leaves being more distinctly obovate and sharply lobed and toothed. It thrives well at Kew, where there is a specimen measuring 44 × 412 ft (1960), which frequently bears good seed. Fruiting and flowering sprays from this tree are figured in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 391.

Corylus colurna

Corylus colurna

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Syon Park, London 70 × 912 ft (1982); Abbey Garden, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, 66 × 914 + 612 ft (1981); Brocklesby Park, Lincs., Kennelside Wood, 84 × 614 ft (1977); University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, the tree measured in 1967 is dead; University Parks, Oxford, 60 × 9 ft (1981); Colesbourne, Glos., 72 × 534 ft (1970); Hergest Croft, Heref., pl. 1902, 70 × 512 ft (1985).

† C. × colurnoides Schneid. C. intermedia Lodd, ex Loud., not Fingerhut – In his 1836 catalogue the nurseryman Loddiges listed C. intermedia, of which Loudon remarked that it was probably a hybrid between C. colurna and C. avellana. In 1904 Schneider described a tree growing at Hannover-Muenden which he considered to be of this parentage, and named the hybrid C. × colurnoides. It makes a shrubby tree, not differing much from C. avellana in foliage, but with fruit-involucres more like those of C. colurna. The example at Kew came from Späth’s nursery in 1935, and measures 31 × 312 ft (1978).

C. jacquemontii – The largest recorded specimen of this ally of C. colurna grows in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden and measures 82 × 7 ft (1985). The example at Kew is 42 × 434 ft (1978).



Other species in the genus